The latest from the James Beard Foundation is that chefs Bill Smith and Andrea Reusing have been nominated for Best Chef in the Southeast.
This is Smith's second time as a finalist and Reusing's first. Although Reusing cooked at last year’s awards gala. Smith is the chef at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, and Reusing is the chef/owner at Lantern.
The James Beard awards are often described as the Oscars of the food world, giving out awards for restaurants, chefs, wine service, cookbooks and food journalism.
"Yikes!" said Smith when reached at home and told the news. "I'm thrilled, of course."
Smith will attend the James Beard gala May 3 in New York City. Like last year, he plans to bring his sisters with him again. Last year, two of his three sister went with him. He hopes to get all three to go this time.
“I was really suprised,” said Reusing, who learned the news from a friend who also was a semifinalist. She says she hopes to be able to attend the gala with her staff who cooked at last year’s event so they can relax and enjoy the festivities this time.
The other chef finalists in the category include Sean Brock of McCrady’s in Charleston; Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten in Athens, Ga.; and Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta.
The only other North Carolinian to receive a nomination was Peter Reinhart, an instructor at Johnson & Wales in Charlotte. Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day," was nominated in the baking category in the cookbook competition.