Baltimore's Cindy Wolf, Charleston and Woodberry Kitchen named James Beard Award semifinalists

Shuai Wang has been named a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef- JONATHAN BONCEK

Charleston was recognized for the work of Chef Cindy Wolf and nominated for its wine program, which is a national award that Charleston has been recognized for in the past.

On Wednesday, the James Beard Foundation unveiled the semifinalists for the upcoming James Beard Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars of the culinary world. Winners of the 2017 James Beard Media Awards, honoring the nation's top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will be announced on April 25. "The joy of having a wine program and doing what we do is sharing it with the guests that sit in our seats".

"The prestigious group of semifinalists in 21 categories represents a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in ten different regions across the US, to the nation's top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, rising star chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers", a news release said.

It's the first nomination for the longtime South Jersey sushi destination. Fleer is a four-time James Beard Award finalist, and has been nominated multiple times.

Paul and Joe Bartolotta of Bartolotta Restaurants are nominated in the category of outstanding restaurateur.

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"Our service is all about the connection of our staff to Spike's mission", says director of operations Hannah Ragan.

Ragan's sister, Mary, is also a server at Woodberry, which employees almost 60 staffers in the front of the house.

ME restaurant industry professionals made a respectable showing this year. On March 15, the James Beard Foundation will announce the final nominees, and the winners of the restaurant contest will be announced May 1.

Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill and Raleigh's Ashley Christensen (Poole's, Death and Taxes, Beasley's, Chucks) are semi-finalists for outstanding chef in the country.

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