A bunch of Minnesota restaurants and chefs are up for prestigious James Beard Awards.
The annual awards – which have been dubbed the Oscars of the food world – honor the best of the best when it comes to places to eat in 21 different categories.
The semifinalists were picked from more than 24,000 online entries and announced Wednesday morning. Here are the ones from Minnesota:
- Best New Restaurant: Esker Grove at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which opened in December.
- Outstanding Baker: Michelle Gayer at the Salty Tart in Minneapolis. Gayer is no stranger to the James Beard Awards, she's been a semifinalist three other times, and a finalist five times in various categories.
- Outstanding Bar Program: Marvel Bar in Minneapolis. Marvel Bar was a semifinalist in 2013 and 2014.
- Outstanding Chef: Alex Roberts at Restaurant Alma in Minneapolis. The restaurant was a semifinalist for Outstanding Service in 2015, while Roberts won Best Chef Midwest back in 2010.
- Outstanding Pastry Chef: Diane Yang at Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis. She was a semifinalist in 2016.
The James Beard awards also have a best chef category for 10 different regions in the U.S. Seven chefs in Minnesota are up for the Best Chef Midwest award. They are:
- Thomas Boemer at Corner Table in Minneapolis. Boemer was a semifinalist last year.
- Mike Brown, Bob Gerken and James Winberg of Travail Kitchen & Amusements in Robbinsdale. They've been semifinalists four times before.
- Steven Brown at Tilia in Minneapolis. This is Brown's fourth time being named a semifinalist.
- Jim Christiansen at Heyday in Minneapolis. He semifinalist in 2015 and 2016 too.
- Jorge Guzman at Brewer’s Table at Surly Brewing Co. in Minneapolis. Guzman was a semifinalist last year.
- Erick Harcey at Upton 43 in Minneapolis. This is his first nomination.
- Ann Kim at Young Joni in Minneapolis. This is her first nomination.
- Lisa Carlson at Chef Shack in Bay City, Wisconsin (there's also a location in Minneapolis). This is Carlson's first nomination.
The finalists for the 27th annual awards will be announced March 15, with the winners named at the 2017 James Beard Awards Gala that'll be held in Chicago on May 1.
The James Beard Foundation also honors the nations top cookbook authors, broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists. The winners of the James Beard Media Awards will be announced April 25.
Last year, one Minnesotan won a James Beard Award. Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis took home the Best Chef Midwest award.
For more information on how the nominees are picked, click here.