The James Beard Foundation announced finalists for its awards today and New Orleans is well-represented again this year. The list includes 11 New Orleans chefs and restaurants/bars, an increase from last year. Additionally, New Orleans chefs have been chosen as three of the five finalists in the Best Chef: South category. The 2017 winners will be announced May 1 in Chicago.
Here’s the short list:
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)
Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region.
Nina Compton, Compère Lapin
Slade Rushing, Brennan’s
Rebecca Wilcomb, Herbsaint
Rising Star Chef of the Year
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.
Zachary Engel, Shaya
Outstanding Wine Program
A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.
A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.
A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.
JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline
Outstanding Pastry Chef
A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.
Kelly Fields, Willa Jean
A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Must have been working as a chef for the past five years.
Donald Link, Herbsaint
Outstanding Bar Program
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.
Emeril Lagasse, Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse
Airs on: Amazon Prime Video