Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen is one of five finalists for a James Beard award: Best Chef in the Southeast. Go HERE to read the entire list.
Christensen is the only North Carolina chef to be a finalist. More than a dozen chefs, restaurants and beverage professionals with N.C. ties were among the semifinalists. Go HERE to see my earlier post.
Christensen is traveling today and so far has been unavailable for a reaction. Although she tweeted: "Pretty much in tears right now. Wow."
The other finalists include Edward Lee, Joseph Lenn, Steven Satterfield and Tandy Wilson.
Christensen owns Poole's Diner, Beasley's Chicken + Honey, Chucks and Fox Liquor Bar. She also recently took over the closed Wilmoore Cafe and has another restaurant project in the works. For information about her restaurants, go to ac-restaurants.com.
The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit that recognizes excellence among chefs, restaurants, food journalism and cookbook authors. James Beard was a cookbook author and champion of regional American food. The foundation was created after his death and now hands out what are considered the "Oscars" of the food world.