Chef Paul Verica and his son Alex work in the kitchen together
Charlotte can claim two chefs nominated for James Beard Awards this year: Davidson’s Joe Kindred of Kindred – who was also nominated in 2016 – and Waxhaw’s Paul Verica of Heritage Food & Drink.
Both are nominated for Best Chef: Southeast, which covers the Carolinas, plus Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. Kindred was nominated last year as well; this is the first time for Verica.
And several Carolinas chefs are up for national awards: In the Outstanding Chef lineup are Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh; Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill, and Mike Lata of FIG in Charleston. Among Rising Star Chef of the Year nominees are Gabe Barker, Pizzeria Mercato, Carrboro; and Shuai Wang, Short Grain, Charleston.
(Perennial powerhouse Charleston has several nominees competing for other national awards, too, though only one in the Southeast lineup.)
The competition for Kindred and Verica (of these, five will be declared finalists March 15 and a winner will be announced April 25):
Colin Bedford, The Fearrington House, Pittsboro
Steven Devereaux Greene, Herons in the Umstead Hotel, Cary
Vivian Howard, Chef & the Farmer, Kinston
Matt Kelly, Mateo, Durham
Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh
John Fleer, Rhubarb, Asheville
Elliott Moss, Buxton Hall, Asheville
Kevin Johnson, The Grocery, Charleston
Billy Allin, Cakes & Ale, Decatur, GA
Kevin Gillespie, Gunshow, Atlanta
Damian Heath, Lot 12 Public House, Berkeley Springs, WV
Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville, KY
Andy Little, Josephine, Nashville
Ri Liu, Masterpiece, Duluth, GA
Erik Niel, Easy Bistro, Chattanooga, TN
Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta
Ryan Smith, Staplehouse, Atlanta
Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis
The other Carolinas nominees up for national awards are:
Outstanding Baker: Phoebe Lawless, Scratch, Durham, and Lionel Vatinet, La Farm Bakery, Cary.
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Cynthia Wong, Butcher & Bee, Charleston.
Outstanding Restaurateur: David Howard, Neighborhood Dining Group, Charleston (Husk, McCrady’s, Minero, and others)
Outstanding Wine Program: FIG, Charleston.
Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional: Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall, High Wire Distilling Company, Charleston.