The semifinalists for the annual James Beard Foundation awards were announced this morning. Among the North Carolina folks recognized:
- Sean Lilly Wilson, Fullsteam Brewery in Durham and Eric Solomon of Eric Solomon Selections European Cellars in Charlotte for outstanding wine and spirits professional.
- Katie Button of Cúrate in Asheville for Rising Star Chef.
- And among those considered for Best Chef Southeast: Ashley Christensen of Poole's in Raleigh; John Fleer of Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers; Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston; Scott Howell of Nana's in Durham; and Aaron Vandemark of Panciuto in Hillsborough.
- Magnolia Grill in Durham for Outstanding Restaurant.
The James Beard awards are considered the Oscars of the food world. Only three North Carolina chefs have received James Beard awards: Ben Barker and Karen Barker at Magnolia Grill and Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill.
The finalists will be announced 11 a.m. March 19. The winners will be announced May 7 at a gala in New York City.