This morning the James Beard Foundation released its list of chefs, restaurateurs, and restaurants in the running for their 2016 awards. The annual Beard Awards, the country's most prestigious restaurant honors, are commonly referred to as the "Oscars of the food world." After looking over the full list of semifinalists of mostly white chefs (many of them cooking food from other cultures around the world), the comparison is appropriate, though the Beard list is slightly more diverse than this year's list of Oscar nominees.
Quite a few Seattleites, from industry veterans to younger chefs, are up for national awards, including Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Chef, and Outstanding Restaurant. And of the 20 semifinalists for Best Chef Northwest, seven are from Seattle, including Mike Easton (Il Corvo), Edouardo Jordan (Salare), and Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi (Joule).
Below is a list of the local semifinalists. Congratulations to everyone! (You can also find the full list here.)
Best New Restaurant
2016 Outstanding Baker
Evan Andres, Columbia City Bakery
Outstanding Bar Program
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Junko Mine, Cafe Juanita
Ethan Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants
Outstanding Wine Program
Rising Star of the Year
Best Chef: Northwest