Just two local chefs-Brown and Jorge Guzman at Surly Brewer's Table-made the final cut past year. Those who made the cut include Ken Oringer (Coppa, Little Donkey, Toro, Uni) for Outstanding Restaurateur, and Maura Kilpatrick of Sofra Bakery and Cafe in Cambridge for Outstanding Baker. Christensen is the only new name in the category; Link and Hamilton were finalists a year ago. When Shepherd won, he ended a 22-year losing streak for Houston chefs.
Bacchanal, the wine shop that morphed into a wine bar, wine garden and unique oenophile oasis in the Bywater, is nominated alongside more traditional restaurants around the country.
The Best Chef Northeast category covers chefs in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York state (other than New York City which has its own category) as well as Rhode Island and MA. She's a first-time nominee in this category, and the only Minnesota chef nominated in a national category.
This year's results notwithstanding, St. Louis has enjoyed success at the James Beard Awards in recent years.
Check back for the full list of local finalists. The winners will be announced Friday, April 27, 2018.
New Orleans had seven semifinalists for this regional award.
The Times-Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson is nominated in the media categories for his investigation of sexual harassment at the Besh Restaurant Group. Also noted is Sun Wah BBQ, which was designated by James Beard Foundation as one of America's Classics.