Saturday, February 20, 2010

James Beard Awards Semifinalists

The James Beard Foundation Awards is sort of like the Oscars for the restaurant trade. Every year the foundation honors excellence in restaurants across the country with their coveted Restaurant and Chefs Awards. In passing conversations with various restaurant staffs, I can tell you that the awards create a buzz in the restaurant community.

Back in 2006, how I wished Gerald Hirigoyen won the Best Chef California award--he's done so much for advancing the Bay Area food scene (Vineyard Gate has held wine dinners at both Pastis and Piperade)--but that was won by Suzanne Goin, who's a semi-finalist again, this time for Outstanding Chef (in the country).

A curious note on the awards, RN74 is a Best New Restaurant semi-finalist. The place is plush and the food is exceptional given that it's template is a wine bar. Yet, as its name suggest, its raison d'etre are its awesome wine list and great wine service.

Here are the semi-final picks for the Bay Area.

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR
Michael Dellar, Lark Creek Restaurant Group, San Francisco
Pat Kuleto, Boulevard, Epic, Farallon, Jardinière, Martini House, Nick's Cove & Cottages, and Waterbar, San Francisco
Doug Washington, Anchor & Hope, Salt House, and Town Hall, San Francisco

OUTSTANDING CHEF
Gary Danko, Restaurant Gary Danko, San Francisco
Michael Mina, San Francisco
Charles Phan, The Slanted Door, San Francisco

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT
Bouchon, Yountville, CA
Boulevard, San Francisco
Delfina, San Francisco

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR
Perry Hoffman, Etoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon, Yountville, CA
Timothy Hollingsworth, The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

BEST NEW RESTAURANT
Flour + Water, San Francisco
Frances, San Francisco
RN74, San Francisco

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF
Deanie Fox, Ubuntu, Napa, CA
Nicole Plue, Redd, Yountville, CA
Michelle Polzine, Range, San Francisco

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE
A16, San Francisco
Acquerello, San Francisco
La Toque, Napa, CA
Restaurant Gary Danko, San Francisco

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL
Merry Edwards, Merry Edwards Wines, Sebastopol, CA
Jörg Rupf, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA
John Shafer and Doug Shafer, Shafer Vineyards, Napa, CA

OUTSTANDING SERVICE
Acquerello, San Francisco

BEST CHEF: PACIFIC
Jeremy Fox, Ubuntu, Napa, CA
Laurence Jossel, Nopa, San Francisco
Loretta Keller, Coco500, San Francisco
David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA
Mourad Lahlou, Aziza, San Francisco
Daniel Patterson, Coi, San Francisco
Richard Reddington, Redd, Yountville, CA
Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco

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