Chefs in the Charlotte area who didn’t get nominations for the prestigious James Beard Awards on Wednesday are in good company: Hardly anyone in the Carolinas was on the list this year.
Most of the love went to people who work with words about food: Andrea Weigl, who recently left her job as the food editor for The Raleigh News & Observer, news partner of the Charlotte Observer, received a nomination for a new category, Local Impact, for stories she wrote on chef Scott Howell, barbecuer Sam Jones and the Chapel Hill company A Southern Season. Hanna Raskin, the food editor of the Charleston Post & Courier, also is a finalist in that category.
In books, “Deep Run Roots” by Kinston chef Vivian Howard and “Victuals” by N.C. author Ronni Lundy also received nominations.
In the Best Chef: Southeast category, the only Carolinas chef nominated was John Fleer of Rhubarb in Asheville. The other chefs in that category were Edward Lee of Louisville, Steven Satterfield of Miller Union in Atlanta, Ryan Smith of Staplehouse in Atlanta, and Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Hog & Hominy in Memphis.
Otherwise, the only Carolinas mentions are in special awards: Bertha’s Kitchen in Charleston is one of this year’s America’s Classics winners, and FIG in Charleston was a finalist for wine program.
Two Charlotte chefs had made the list of semifinalists, announced in February: Joe Kindred of Davidson’s Kindred, and Paul Verica of Heritage Food & Drink in Waxhaw. Also on the semifinalist list: Ashley Christensen of Raleigh, Andrea Reusing of Chapel Hill and Mike Lata of Charleston for Outstanding Chef, and Gabe Barker of Pizzeria Mercato of Carrboro and Shuai Wang of Short Grain in Charleston for Rising Star Chef.
The foundation typically releases the long list of semifinalists, then narrows it to the final list of nominees in March. This year’s nomination announcement was carried live on Facebook from Los Angeles.
The final winners will be named at two events, the JBF Media Awards, which cover books, journalism and broadcast awards, on April 25 in New York, and the James Beard Awards Gala, which is now being held at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. The foundation recently announced that the gala will stay in Chicago until 2021.
For the full list of nominees, go to www.jamesbeard.org.