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Fri February 21, 2014
Will James Beard Award Finalists Fare Better This Year?
The James Beard Foundation has announced finalists for their big foodie awards. There were many local nominees. Here's hoping that some of them win because last year there were 13 semi-finalists in the state, and one finalist, but no winner.
One things stands out about the current list of semi-finalists. There's a lot of food happening in the state, especially Durham.
- Phoebe Lawless is up for Outstanding Pastry Chef. She's out of Durham's Scratch Bakery.
- Giorgios Bakatsias operates several places in Durham. He's up for Outstanding Restauranteur.
- Scott Howell of Nana’s in Durham just may be the next Best Chef in the Southeast.
- Matt Kelly, of Vin Rouge and Mateo Tapas in Durham is also in the running for Best Chef, Southeast.
Outside of Durham, there are a lot of contenders.
WUNC has been following the story of Vivian Howard of Chef and the Farmer in rural Kinston, N.C. Howard moved home to Kinston from New York City where she opened an adventurous restaurant. She had an extended interview with Dick Gordon on The Story late last year.
The Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro is up for Outstanding Restaurant.
Asheville's Katie Button from Curate is up for Rising Star Chef.
In addition to the Durham nominees, chef finalists for for Best Chef Southeast include:
Colin Bedford of The Fearrington House Inn
Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Downtown Diner. (Christensen was a finalist last year for Best Chef in the Southeast, but the final award went to Joseph Lenn of The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.) >>Listen to Ashley's conversation with Frank Stasio last year just prior to the award announcement.
Scott Crawford, Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary
Aaron Vandemark of Panciuto in Hillsborough.
How does the competition work?
- There is an open call for submissions. (This year there were 40,000 submissions.)
- A Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee (composed of critics, writers, and editors) make the original list of semi-finalists.
- Semi-finalists are voted on by a committee including former Beard Award winners.
- The five semi-finalists with the highest number of votes in each category become the nominees
The awards will be presented in New York City May 2 and 5.
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