The James Beard Foundation has released the list of finalists for its annual restaurant awards competition. And while the exceptional culinary talent in Orlando and Central Florida has once again been overlooked, we can at least celebrate that three of the five nominees for Best Chef in the South region are in Florida.
They are: Zach Bell, Cafe Boulud at the Brazilian Court, Palm Beach; Douglas Rodriguez, Ola, Miami Beach; and Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami. The other two chefs in the category are John Currence, City Grocery, Oxford, Miss., and John Harris, Lilette, New Orleans. The South region includes Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.
Finalists for Outstanding Restaurateur are:
Tom Douglas,Tom Douglas Restaurants, Seattle; Keith McNally, Balthazar, Lucky Strike, Morandi, Pastis, Pravda, and Schiller’s Liquor Bar, NYC;
Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises,
Chicago; Drew Nieporent, Myriad Restaurant Group,
NYC; and Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurant Organization, Philadelphia.
The nominees for Outstanding Restaurant are: Babbo, New York; Boulevard, San Francisco; Fore Street, Portland, Maine; Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham; and Jean Georges, New York.
The winners will be announced at a black-tie gala on May 4 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York.
For a complete list of nominees, visit the James Beard Foundation Web site.