They're dubbed the "Oscars of the food world," and this year 14 nominees from the Twin Cities are in the running for a James Beard Foundation Award.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the awards, and the list of semifinalists was released on Wednesday, featuring a bevy of metro area chefs, bars and restaurants.
Minnesota's nominees include:
Best new restaurant:
- Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis.
- La Belle Vie, Minneapolis.
- Stephen Horton, Rustica Bakery, Minneapolis.
- John Kraus, Patisserie 46, Minneapolis.
Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional:
- Eric Seed, Haus Alpenz, Edina.
Best chef: Midwest:
- Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis.
- Jim Christiansen, Heyday, Minneapolis.
- Doug Flicker, Piccolo, Minneapolis.
- Mike Brown, Bob Gerken, and James Winberg, Travail Kitchen and Amusements, Robbinsdale.
- Russell Klein, Meritage, St. Paul.
- Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis.
- Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul.
- Kim Bartmann, Minneapolis (Barbette, Bryant-Lake Bowl, Red Stag Supperclub, and others).
- Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis.
The finalists will be announced by the James Beard Foundation on March 24, with the awards gala being held in Chicago on May 4.
Last year, two Minnesotans made the finals: Butcher & Boar chef/owner Jack Riebel and Salty Tart chef/owner Michelle Gayer, only to lose out in the Best Chef: Midwest category.
Twin Cities-based chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern won the 2013 James Beard Award for “Outstanding Personality/Host.”
The Spoon and Stable's nomination in the Best New Restaurant category caps a meteoric rise for the eatery, which only opened in November in Minneapolis's North Loop to great fanfare, with KARE 11 calling it the "most excitement restaurant to hit the Minneapolis dining scene in quite some time."