Joe Kindred, named the Charlotte area’s only semifinalist in the 2016 James Beard Awards in mid-February, fell out of contention Tuesday as his 20-chef Best Chef Southeast category was pared to five finalists.
In fact, the Carolinas were pretty well omitted in the restaurant portion of the program, with Raleigh’s Death & Taxes staying in the hunt for Best New, and FIG in Charleston making the Outstanding Wine Program finalists, but the other Carolinas semifinalists skipped. Awards will be given April 26.
Kindred, of Davidson’s Kindred, had been the first area chef nominated since 2009, when both Bruce Moffett (Barrington’s, Good Food on Montford, Stagioni) and Mark Hibbs (no longer in Charlotte) made the semifinals list.
Bon Appetit put Kindred in its top 10 national list of best new restaurants, and the place has gotten national praise and coverage from such disparate media as the Wall Street Journal and Food & Wine. But Beard judges skipped it in the Best New category. The Beard Foundation announces semifinalists (20 in most categories) across the industry from cooking and wine and restaurant design to regional “best chef” designations to book and media awards. Anyone can suggest restaurant 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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Finalists for Best Chef Southeast: Kevin Gillespie, Gunshow, Atlanta; Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville; Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta; Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis; and Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville.
(BTW, I’m sticking with my prediction chef Kindred will be the first to bring one home, if the operation continues to evolve.)