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Check out the Minnesota finalists for the 'Oscars of the food world'

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Five people with Minnesota ties are now finalists for some of the most coveted awards in the food industry.

The James Beard Foundation awards – called the “Oscars of the food world” – honor chefs, bakers, restaurateurs and journalists for their excellence in a variety of categories.

Twelve Minnesotans were named semifinalists last month, but only two went on to become finalists, which were announced Tuesday.

In the Best Chef: Midwest category, with two of Minnesota's semifinalists made it to the finals:

Minnesotans were also named finalists for James Beard Foundation culinary journalism awards – categories that don't have semifinalists.

Those include Minnesota transplant Andrew Zimmern, who was nominated for two awards, including Outstanding Personality/Host for his Travel Channel show "Bizarre Foods" and for his food blog.

Raghavan Iyer, a Minneapolis-based cookbook author, was nominated in the Video Webcast, Fixed Location and/or Instructional category for "Indian Curries: The Basics & Beyond" published on

Restaurant critic and five-time James Beard winner Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl was nominated for the Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award for her pieces in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine: “Spoon & Stable,” “Gilding the Chicken,” “A Second Act for the Forum?”

The winners in the restaurant and chef categories will be announced at a gala event in Chicago on May 2, while the winners in the journalism categories will be named 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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