The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for the Oscars of the food world. Several Triangle chefs and restaurants are on the list:
Chefs Ben and Karen Barker, the husband-and-wife team behind Magnolia Grill, are the region's only James Beard winners. Ben Barker was named Best Chef in the Southeast in 2000, and Karen Barker was named America's best pastry chef in 2003.
A handful of Triangle chefs have been nominated in the Best Chef of the Southeast category:
- Ashley Christensen of Poole's in Raleigh
- Scott Howell of Nana's in Durham
- Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill
- Bill Smith of Crook's Corner in Chapel Hil
Nominees were excited at the news. "I'm really happy," said Gene Hamer, owner of Crook's Corner. "It's wonderful that Bill Smith is getting the recognition he deserves...I've been very fortunate to have two great chefs -- Bill Neal and Bill Smith."
Smith was a finalist last year in the same category.
The finalists will be named March 22. The winners will be announced May 3.
Click on the document below to see the entire list of semifinalists.