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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Be a Homer and Root for These James Beard Semifinalists

Posted By on Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 8:25 AM


​The press releases have gone out, and the betting is now open: This morning, the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists in its annual restaurant awards, which are often called the Oscars of the food world (mostly by people writing up these award press releases). They're really a measure of the national impact of local restaurants; the awards identify who's getting written up in a way that draws food writers from other cities to eat there and trumpet the place as well. Even a semifinalist nomination is worth $$$ for a restaurant, so congratulations to everyone who made it this far. 

Since the nominees for the big awards are largely without surprise (Michael Mina, OMG! Yeah, no shock there), I most enjoy seeing who made it in three categories: new restaurant, rising chef, and Pacific regional chef. The local, not to say national, competition in all three categories is fierce and actually compelling. 

Best New Restaurant

Bar Agricole




Outstanding Chef

Gary Danko, Restaurant Gary Danko

Michael Mina, Michael Mina

Charles Phan, The Slanted Door

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Melissa Chou, Aziza

Outstanding Restaurant


The Slanted Door

Outstanding Restaurateur

Pat Kuleto (Boulevard, Epic Roasthouse, Farallon, Jardinière, Martini House, Nick's Cove, and Waterbar)

Outstanding Service

Michael Mina

Outstanding Wine Service

Shelley Lindgren, A16

Ken Frank and Scott Tracy, La Toque

Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional

Merry Edwards, Merry Edwards Winery

Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines

Rajat Parr, Mina Group

Jorg Rupf, St. George Spirits

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Sean Baker, Gather

Perry Hoffman, Etoile

Aaron London, Ubuntu

Thomas McNaughton, Flour and Water

Best Chef, Pacific

Laurence Jossel, Nopa

Loretta Keller, Coco500

Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood

Mourad Lahlou, Aziza

Corey Lee, Benu

Daniel Patterson, Coi

Gayle Pirie and John Clark, Foreign Cinema

Richard Reddington, Redd

James Syhabout, Commis

Michael Tusk, Quince

Voting on this round now begins, and the finalists will be named March 21. Read the full press release and list of semifinalists on the James Beard Foundation website. Also, if you're a real data collector, you can compare this lineup against the list of Bay Area semifinalists from last year.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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