Savannah's Mashama Bailey semifinalist for prestigious James Beard Best Chef: Southeast award

16 February, 2018, 06:18 | Author: Marie Harrington
  • James Beard award winners receive a medal

In the meantime, go out and patronize some of our fine eating establishments and celebrate our chefs and restaurateurs who are working to create a culinary scene worthy of national recognition. Although other categories include Restaurant Design and Media, these are probably the most well-known and publicly anticipated part of the awards.

Winners will be announced Monday, May 2, at the James Beard Foundation annual awards gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The winners will be announced May 7.

This year's rising star chefs, a category that includes chefs ages 30 and younger deemed most likely to "make a significant impact on the industry in years to come", are divided nearly equally between male and female chefs. It's a shame that the leaps and bounds we've made in the last 10-plus years are going unnoticed at the Oscars of the food world.

Tova du Plessis, who owns Essen Bakery on East Passyunk Avenue, is one of 20 semifinalists for top baker; she was on ther list past year.

Vaught, the wife of last year's Best Chef: Southwest victor Hugo Ortega, is honored to be recognized, "especially among such a wonderful group of industry professionals". Miles has gone on to be a finalist in that category for the past two years, but she has not won.

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Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road (The Macintosh, Oak Steakhouse, The Oak Table, Indaco, and others), nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur.

Wei Zhu, the chef and owner of Chengdu Gourmet in Squirrel Hill, is also nominated for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Good news: There are more women nominees this year. All of the Valley's nominees have been named semifinalists multiple times before. It's tricky for the Foundation to navigate talking about this.

The #MeToo movement has come into play. The Mexican restaurant received the "America's Classics" award and was recognized for its Sonoran hotdog. The 32-seat restaurant fills up fast on busy nights.



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