Go HERE to read the story.
The list of James Beard Foundation semifinalists came out today and seven local chefs are on the list for Best Chef Southeast:
- Ashley Christensen, Poole's Diner of Raleigh
- Andrea Reusing, Lantern of Chapel Hill
- Chip Smith, Bonne Soiree in Chapel Hill
- Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto in Hillsborough
- Scott Crawford, Herons at Umstead Hotel in Cary
- Scott Howell, Nana's in Durham
- Shane Ingram, Four Square in Durham
"Nice! When it rains, it pours," said Vandemark, a first-time semifinalist who yesterday learned he was in the running for Food & Wine magazine's People's Choice Best New Chef 2011. (To read about that nomination and to vote for Vandemark, click HERE.)
Smith who has been named as a semifinalist several times before said he tries not to get too worked up about it. "We're just honored to be given a nod," he said.
Several of these chefs have been semifinalists before. This is Christensen's second year. Howell has been a semifinalist many times before. And last year Reusing (pictured left) progressed to finalist, as well as Bill Smith of Crook's Corner, but they lost to Sean Brock of McCrady's in Charleston, S.C.
Two other North Carolina chefs are semifinalists: Keith Rhodes of Catch in Wilmington and John Fleer of Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers, N.C. That means North Carolina chefs made up almost half of the Southeast semifinalists.
The only other North Carolina semifinalist is Eric Solomon of European Cellars in Charlotte for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional.
These chefs and Solomon will learn on March 21 if they are among the five finalists in their categories. The winners will be announced May 9 at a gala in New York City.
Durham's Magnolia Grill also was nominated in the Outstanding Resturant category. Its chef-owners Ben and Karen Barker are the state's only James Beard award-winning chefs.
James Beard was a cookbook author, a cooking instructor and a champion of regional American cuisine. The Foundation, founded after his death, honors excellence in restaurants, chefs, pastry chefs, wine service professionals, cookbook authors and food journalism. The awards have often been described as the "Oscars of the food world."
Christensen was inspired by the story of Prince Liam the Brave, a precocious foodie who recently lost a four-year battle with cancer. She challenges other area chefs and restaurateurs to follow her example.
Fullsteam owner Sean Wilson has already accepted the challenge, and Christensen is hopeful that others will get on board. She notes that her challenge isn't cause-specific, and encourages anyone who is in a position to help to donate to the cause of his or her choice.
Now that's what I call a big-hearted Valentine's Day gift.
Chef Ashley Christensen has been hosting a series of Stir the Pot fundraisers for the Southern Foodways Alliance and has just released details on the next two events on Jan. 23 & 24. The guest chefs are both from Nashville: Tandy Wilson of City House and Tyler Brown of The Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel.
Same format as before: $150 dinner at Poole's Diner in Raleigh at 7 p.m. Sunday night, followed by a potluck at Ashley's house from 6-9 p.m. Monday night for industry folks.
Again, go HERE to read all about it.
The first event is a five-course wine dinner on Sunday night featuring chef John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi. Currence won Best Chef of the Southeast 2009. The dinner costs $150. Call 832-4477 for a reservation.
The second event is for those in the food business. It's a potluck at Poole's Diner chef Ashley Christensen's house. It costs $35 and you must bring a side dish that represents your sense of place. Call 832-4477 for a reservation.
For full details, go HERE.
The events are fundraisers for the Southern Foodways Alliance, a group based at the University of Mississippi that is devoted to preserving and documenting Southern food traditions and culture.
On Sunday, Aug. 8, guest chefs Alex Raij and Eder Montero of Txikito in New York City will be cooking. Having dined at Txikito, a Basque restaurant, in May, I'm excited about these events. (Burgeoning foodie, a Mouthful reader, pointed out that Travel and Leisure named Txikito among the 50 best new restaurants in the country. Click HERE.)
The Aug. 8th wine dinner costs $150. Your best bet if you want to get in on that wine dinner is to call Poole's Diner NOW: 832-4477.
Like last time, there will be a Monday night potluck for restaurant industry folks. It costs $35. Call 832-4477 to reserve your spot.
Christensen said they will have two more Stir the Pot events: one in November with chef John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi; and one in January with two Nashville chefs, Tyler Brown of Capital Grille of The Hermitage Hotel and Tandy Wilson of City House. More details to come on those events.
This sounds like an incredible meal: Five courses made by chefs Scott Crawford and Daniel Benjamin, both of Herons at The Umstead Hotel, Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner in Raleigh, Jim Anile of Revolution in Durham and Vivian Howard of Chef & The Farmer in Kinston. The meal will be 7 p.m. May 17.
The cost is $110. Seating is limited. Call 447-4200.
Proceeds benefit the Lucy Daniels Center in Cary.
Dean McCord, aka Varmint Bites who volunteers for the Lucy Daniels Center and I suspect helped arrange the dinner, has a post about the event HERE.
There are two events:
- At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 11 at Poole's Downtown Diner, Brock and Christensen will cook five-course dinner. The cost is $150.
- At 11 a.m. Monday, April 12, Christensen will host a potluck brunch at her home in Raleigh. The cost is $35. This event is for food industry folks, which "means people who are touched and moved
by the industry in some way: cooks, servers, bartenders, writers,
eaters, and drinkers." It is an informal event for conversations with Brock and other food folks.
Space is limited so call 832-4477 for a reservation.
All the proceeds from the event will benefit Southern Foodways Alliance's documentary film initiative.