The James Beard Foundation today released a list of this year's restaurant and chef semifinalists for the organization's prestigious annual culinary awards, described by many as "the Oscars of the food world."
Philadelphia was well represented among the potential winners. Marc Vetri raked in the most nominations – he's up for "Outstanding Chef," his flagship restaurant Vetri is nominated for "Outstanding Service" and Brad Spence of the Vetri-owned Amis is up for "Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic." His competitors include Bibou's Pierre Calmels, Konstantinos Pitsillides of Kanella, Sylva Senat of Tashan, Fond's Lee Styer and Marcie Turney of Barbuzzo.
Le Virtu chef Joe Cicala is a contender for the coveted "Rising Star Chef of the Year." He'll be competing against Christopher Kearse of Philly's Will BYOB for the honor.
Other local nominations include Vernick Food & Drink for "Best New Restaurant," Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company for "Outstanding Bar Program" and the Fountain Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel for "Outstanding Service."
Andre Chin and Amanda Eap of Artisan Boulanger Patissier are up for the "Outstanding Pastry Chef" award, Tom Peters of Monk’s Cafe is nominated for "Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional" and Stephen Starr is a semifinalist for "Outstanding Restaurateur."
Five finalists in each category will on March 18 be selected by an independent 600-judge volunteer panel, and the winners will be announced at a May 4 awards ceremony at New York's Lincoln Center.