Two restaurants and more than a dozen chefs from Minnesota eateries are in the running for the "Oscars of the food world."
The James Beard Foundation on Wednesday announced the semifinalists for its restaurant and chef awards. Minnesotans will be vying for wins in six categories: Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Baker, Outstanding Bar Program, Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Pastry and Best Chef: Midwest.
The James Beard Awards are among the most prestigious in the food world. They recognize the best in food — from restaurants to cookbooks to writing and programming — across North America.
Final nominees will be announced March. 15.
Last year, Paul Berglund of Minneapolis' Bachelor Farmer took home the prize for best chef in the Midwest.
The James Beard Foundation also hands out awards for culinary book, broadcast and journalism categories. Last year, two Minnesotans won there: chef and author Raghavan Iyer in the "Video Webcast, Fixed Location and/or Instructional" category for "Indian Curries: The Basics & Beyond," and filmmaker Jesse Roesler for his documentary, "The Starfish Throwers."
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Here are this year's James Beard food award semifinalists:
Best New Restaurant
• Esker Grove at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
• Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis
Outstanding Bar Program
• Marvel Bar, Minneapolis
• Alex Roberts, Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis
Outstanding Pastry Chef
• Diane Yang, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
Best Chef: Midwest
• Thomas Boemer, Corner Table, Minneapolis
• Mike Brown, Bob Gerken, James Winberg, Travail Kitchen & Amusements, Robbinsdale
• Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis
• Lisa Carlson, Chef Shack (listed under Bay City, Wis., but there's also a Minneapolis location)
• Jim Christiansen, Heyday, Minneapolis
• Jorge Guzman, Brewer's Table at Surly Brewing Co., Minneapolis
• Erick Harcey, Upton 43, Minneapolis
• Ann Kim, Young Joni, Minneapolis