Metro Phoenix Chefs Are Semifinalists for James Beard Awards

James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence medal

James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence medal

The James Beard Foundation awards season kicks off with the list of semifinalists for the sought-after chef and restaurant honors. Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner in Raleigh is up for the national award Outstanding Chef and David Bauer of Farm & Sparrow in Asheville is on the list for Outstanding Baker.

Editor's note: Post-Dispatch restaurant critic Ian Froeb is a member of the James Beard Awards restaurant and chefs awards committee. The next big date to watch is March 14, when the foundation announces the finalist list.

For the fourth year in a row, Jonny Hunter, of Forequarter, was nominated for Best Chef: Midwest.

Jesse Ito of Queen Village's Royal Izakaya is a semifinalist for rising star chef of the year. One of Link's other restaurants, Peche, is a previous victor for Best New Restaurant.

Mike Randolph, acclaimed chef at Publico and Randolfi's in the Delmar Loop in University City, in his restaurant Publico Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years. Joe Kindred of Kindred in Davidson is on the list for Best Chef: Southeast.

Grand Cafe in South Minneapolis
Grand Cafe in South Minneapolis

Last year, the Best Chef: South award went to Rebecca Wilcomb of Herbsaint.

Downtown institution Tony's is a semifinalist for "Outstanding Service", another nationwide category.

Bacchanal, the wine shop that morphed into a wine bar, wine garden and unique oenophile oasis in the Bywater, is nominated alongside more traditional restaurants around the country.

Metro Detroit was shut out in the categories of Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Pastry Chef, Outstanding Restaurant, Outstanding Restaurateur, Outstanding Wine Program and Outstanding Wine Spirits or Beer Professional.

The overall winners will be announced at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony on May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. This is Tony's first appearance as a James Beard Awards semifinalist.

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