James Beard Semifinalists Announced

Chris Ponte inside his latest restaurant project On Swann

It's when the annual James Beard Awards announce semifinalists, calling attention to the country's best chefs, food writers and educators. Frasca is becoming a veritable Susan Lucci of this category, having been nominated multiple times in recent years but not (yet!) winning the coveted Nobel of the foodie world.

Charleen Badman of FnB restaurant in Scottsdale earned her fourth semifinal nomination this year.

The finalists will be revealed in Los Angeles on March 15.

The Des Moines culinary scene received another nod Wednesday morning with the announcement of the James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists. The foundation named in his honor was set up to provide scholarships to aspiring food professionals and to champion the American culinary tradition, which Beard helped create.

Among the new faces this year for best chef: Midwest are Karen Bell, the chef-owner of Bavette La Boucherie at 330 E. Menomonee St.

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No Cincinnati chef has ever won the Great Lakes category. "The joy of having a wine program and doing what we do is sharing it with the guests that sit in our seats". Another familiar Arizona name is Sam Fox, who has been nominated for "Outstanding Restaurateur". He was a semifinalist for the same award past year, and follows in the footsteps of St. George's founder Jörg Rupf, who received four James Beard nominations.

Sagami in Collingswood was named for "Outstanding Restaurant"; Elizabeth Degener of Enfin Farms in Cape May "Outsanding Baker"; and for "Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic" Dan Richer of Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City, Scott Anderson of Elements in Princeton, and Joey Baldino of Zeppoli in Collingswood.

Oakland's James Syhabout is also a semifinalist for a Best Chef, West award for San Francisco's Hawker Fare. Anyone can nominate someone to be a semifinalist in 21 categories; this year, the semifinalists were chosen from more than 24,000 entries.

The highly anticipated James Beard Awards ceremony and gala reception will follow on Monday, May 1, 2016, at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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