Joe Kindred of Davidson’s Kindred made the 20-chef semifinalist list for Best Chef Southeast released this morning for this year’s James Beard Foundation awards, though wasn’t among the national contestants for Best New Restaurant, a bit of a surprise since Bon Appetit had placed Kindred of Davidson in its top 10 restaurants of the year and the place has garnered praise from a variety of outlets (including us). The Beard Foundation announces semifinalists (20 in most categories) for awards across the restaurant industry from best new restaurant and restaurant design to regional “best chef” designations to book and media awards.
Too soon to get excited, though: Semifinalists are winnowed to finalists, which will be announced this year on March 15, followed by the actual awards ceremony, April 26.
The Carolinas typically have several contenders at this stage, most from Charleston and Asheville, but a few from Charlotte have been included before -- though we’ve yet to have a winner.
Anyone can suggest nominees; Beard committees select semifinalists from the pool (some 40,000 names in total), then finalists and winners are voted on by volunteer judges -- industry pros and previous winners.
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Other Carolinas semifinalists:
For Best New Restaurant: Raleigh’s Death & Taxes.
For Outstanding Chef: Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh.
For Outstanding Service: Charleston Grill, Charleston.
For Outstanding Wine Program: FIG, Charleston.
For Outstanding Pastry Chef: Cynthia Wong, Rhubarb, Asheville.
For Outstanding Baker: Phoebe Lawless, Scratch Bakery, Durham; and Lionel Vatinet, La Farm Bakery, Cary.
Joining Joe Kindred among the Best Chef: Southeast semifinalists: Nate Allen, Knife and Fork, Spruce Pine; Billy Allin, Cakes & Ale, Decatur; Jeremiah Bacon, The Macintosh, Charleston; Brian Canipelli, Cucina 24, Asheville; Kathy Cary, Lilly’s, Louisville; Scott Crawford, Standard Foods, Raleigh; Steven Devereaux Greene, Herons in the Umstead Hotel, Cary; Kevin Gillespie, Gunshow, Atlanta; Damian Heath, Lot 12 Public House, Berkeley Springs, WV; Vivian Howard, Chef & the Farmer, Kinston; Kevin Johnson, The Grocery, Charleston; Matthew Kelly, Mateo, Durham; Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville; Erik Niel, Easy Bistro, Chattanooga; Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta; Ryan Smith, Staplehouse, Atlanta; Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis; Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough; and Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville.