Local Chefs Shut Out in 2018 Beard Awards

Written By Scott Joseph On February 15, 2018

Beard Rise

The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2018 awards in Chicago Thursday, and for the first time in many years no Central Florida chefs were included in the Best Chef: South category.

Among the 20 semifinalists, five are from Florida, including Lindsay Autry, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach; Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach; Brad Kilgore, Alter, Miami; Lauren Macellaro, The Reading Room, St. Petersburg; and Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Miami.

Regional judges, a panel comprised mainly of restaurant critics and food journalists, will vote for their top five candidates in each category. The five finalists will be announced March 14 with the winners revealed at a black-tie gala in Chicago on May 7.

Central Florida has never had a chef advance to the finals, but not having one, or several, on the long list is rare. Considering the favorable press that local restaurants have been receiving recently, including an article in Sunday’s New York Times that listed several restaurants whose chefs would be Beard worthy, this is a disappointing setback.

The full list of nominees may be seen at the James Beard Foundation webpage.

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