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12 MN chefs, bakers named semifinalists in 'Oscars of the food world'

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Twelve Minnesotans were named semifinalists for one of the most coveted awards in the food industry.

The James Beard Foundation awards – called the "Oscars of the food world" – honor chefs, bakers and restaurateurs for their excellence in 21 categories.

Minnesotans were named semifinalists in three categories:

Outstanding Baker

They were both named semifinalists last year.

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Best Chef: Midwest

The semifinalists were selected from a list of more than 20,000 online entries, a news release says. The finalists will be named in each category on March 15 – you can follow along live on Twitter here.

The winners in each category will be announced at a gala event in Chicago on May 2.

The James Beard Foundation also honors cookbook authors, food journalists and culinary broadcast producers and hosts in its Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards. The winners will be named in that at an event in New York City on April 26.

Last year, 14 Twin Cities chefs and restaurants were named semifinalists, but none of them ended up winning an award.

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Winners of the prestigious James Beard Awards will be announced in May.