Published February 15, 2018
PITTSBURGH, PA - The James Beard Foundation Awards are widely considered to be the culinary arts version of the Oscars or Grammys. Beard semifinalists were announced Thursday and six Pittsburgh chefs, restaurateurs and restaurants made the cut.
The awards cover 21 categories including best new restaurant, best chef, outstanding baker and outstanding service and others. Out of more than 20,000 entries, these local ones moved closer to the finals"
- Outstanding restaurateur: Richard DeShantz, DeShantz Restaurant Group (Butcher and the Rye, Meat & Potatoes, Tako, Pork & Beans, all Downtown)
- Outstanding restaurant: Legume, Oakland.
- Rising wine, spirits or beer professionals:Meredith Meyer, Wigle Whiskey, Strip District.
- Best chef, Mid-Atlantic Division: Wei Zhu, Chengdu Gourmet, Squirrel Hill; Bethany Zozula, Whitfield, East Liberty.
- Best pastry chef: Casey Renee, Whitfield, East Liberty.
The foundation holds an online open call for entries every year. A committee reviews thousands of entries to come up with a nominating ballot of semifinalists in each category.
An independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges — comprised of top regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past winners — then votes on specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category.
They then vote on these five nominees to select the winners.
The foundation will announce the final nominees on the morning of March 14 at Parc in Philadelphia. The event will be live-streamed.
The winners will be announced at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City on April 27. They'll receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.
Click here to see the full list of awards.
Photo via Shutterstock.