The James Beard Foundation just announced their semifinals list (a.k.a. the long list). After taking open nominations, the Beard voters pared it down to 20 semifinalists in each category.
Some familiar names from Charleston have made it this far.
The Ordinary is up for Best New Restaurant, a highly competitive category that they have a great chance to win.
Sean Brock is up for Outstanding Chef, a category that puts him against a nationwide slate of serious contenders: David Chang, Andrew Carmellini, Paul Kahan, Donald Link, Suzanne Goin, Michael Symon... We think he's got a good shot at making the short list and appearing at the awards in May.
For the regional Best Chef Southeast category, Jeremiah Bacon of the Macintosh and Craig Deihl of Cypress are semifinalists again along with Josh Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder. Three chefs who deserve to win in their own right. Last year, Deihl made the short list, so we expect to see him get nominated again.
Charleston Grill also made the semifinals for outstanding wine program.
The short nominee list will be announced during a live broadcast on the morning of March 18 in Charleston followed by a Beard dinner on Fort Moultrie later that night. Tickets are $300, but the dinner should be worth it as the guys named above (sans Keeler) will be there along with a bunch more of your favorite local chefs. So, if you've been saving up for a fun night out, we'd highly recommend this one.
Here's the full list of semifinalists.
And here's wishing someone will bring home some more hardware for the trophy case.