13 Twin Cities restaurants, chefs nominated for James Beard Awards

Just remember this the next time someone complains about Midwestern food.
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Thomas Boemer, of St. Paul's In Bloom.

Thomas Boemer, of St. Paul's In Bloom.

TV host Bill Maher last week patronizingly likened Midwest food to "Chef Boyardee," so here's a story to prove how wrong he is.

That's because Twin Cities restaurants are once again well represented in the semifinals of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards.

The James Beard contenders were announced on Wednesday morning, with Minnesota competing in six national categories.

Meanwhile, seven Twin Cities chefs are in the running for the regional "Best Chef: Midwest" award that was won last year by Spoon & Stable's Gavin Kaysen.

National contenders include Rikki Giambruno of St. Paul's Hyacinth, who is in the running for Rising Star Chef of the Year, while Spoon & Stable/Bellecour's Diane Moua is once again nominated for Pastry Chef of the Year.

Restaurant Alma in Northeast Minneapolis is nominated in the "Outstanding Restaurant" category – the equivalent of a "Best Picture" Oscar –while another Northeast eatery, Mexican-inspired Popol Vuh, is in the running for "Best New Restaurant."

The chefs competing for this year's title of "Best Chef: Midwest" include Thomas Boemer, of the acclaimed "In Bloom" at St. Paul's Keg & Case food hall, Daniel del Prado of Martina, and Christina Nguyen of the celebrated Hai Hai.

Here's a full list of the Minnesota nominees.

Rising Star Chef of the Year 

Rikki Giambruno, Hyacinth, St. Paul

Best New Restaurant

Popol Vuh, Minneapolis

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Diane Moua, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Outstanding Restaurant

Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis

Outstanding Restaurateur

Brenda Langton and Timothy Kane, Spoonriver, Minneapolis

Outstanding wine program

The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis

Best Chef: Midwest

Thomas Boemer, In Bloom, St. Paul

Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis

Daniel del Prado, Martina, Minneapolis

Ann Kim, Young Joni, Minneapolis

Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis

Karyn Tomlinson, Corner Table, Minneapolis

Jamie Malone, Grand Café, Minneapolis

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