2013 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists Unveiled

Final nominations to be announced at the Lowndes Grove Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina, on March 18, 2013

2013 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists UnveiledNew York, NY  (RestaurantNews.com)  Today the James Beard Foundation announced its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries. Selected from a list of over 44,000 online entries, the prestigious group of semifinalists in 20 categories represents a wide variety of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in ten different regions across the U.S., to the nation’s top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, and rising star chefs.

See this year’s full semifinalist list at jamesbeard.org/awards.

On Monday, March 18, 2013, the Foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories during a press brunch at the historic Lowndes Grove Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina. Nominations will also be announced live via the Foundation’s Twitter feed at twitter.com/beardfoundation.

On Friday, May 3, 2013, the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will take place at Gotham Hall in New York City.

On Monday, May 6, 2013, the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will take place at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Who’s Who, and the America’s Classics Award honorees. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top culinary talents from across the country serving dishes that reflect this year’s Awards theme, “Lights. Camera.  Taste! Spotlight on Food & Film,” a tribute to the role food plays in America’s most iconic films. Tickets to the May 6 Awards ceremony and gala reception will go on sale on March 18, 2013, and can be purchased at jamesbeard.org/awards or through the Awards Box Office at 914.231.6180.

How the Restaurant and Chef Awards Work

The James Beard Foundation holds an online open call for entries beginning in mid-October of each year. This year, over 44,000 entries were received, a list which the Restaurant and Chef Committee goes through to determine eligibility and regional representation. Based on the results and eligibility requirements for each award, the committee then produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 20 Restaurant and Chef awards categories, some of which include Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Restaurant, Best Chef in ten different U.S. regions, Rising Star Chef of the Year, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional, Outstanding Bar Program, and Best New Restaurant.

The list of semifinalist nominees is then sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners, votes on specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category. The same judges then vote on these five nominees to select the winners. The governing Awards Committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners in May.

The 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards are presented with support by the following partners: Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, Lenox Tableware and Gifts; Supporting Sponsors: Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water, Celebrity Cruises®, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Lavazza, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Stella Artois®, Valrhona; Gala Reception Sponsors: Ecolab, Rums of Puerto Rico; and with additional support from BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival® and Chefwear. *Sponsors listed are current as of release date.

About the James Beard Foundation

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and preserving America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful and delicious food. Today the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. In September of 2012, the Foundation launched the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Protocol and helped create the American Chef Corps as a way to champion American chefs abroad, promote American food products and foster an interest in American culinary culture and history through international programs and initiatives. For more information, please visit www.jamesbeard.org. Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter and Instagram.