The James Beard Foundation announced its 2013 semifinalists today, the first leg in a three-part journey to the biggest dining honor in the nation. Next month, this long list of names gets winnowed down to the actual nominees. Then the winners get announced in New York in May. Capiche?
Also potentially exciting: Shanik and The Whale Wins are on the long list for Best New Restaurant in the country. Washington also has three deserving names on the roster for Rising Star Chef of the Year: Mark Bodinet at Copperleaf, Chris Weber of the Herbfarm, and Willows Inn chef Blaine Wetzel (he was long-listed last year, too).
Last year only three Seattle names made it to the actual awards ceremony, but we were rewarded with T-Doug's excellent Outstanding Restaurateur win (and Eric Tanaka's equally excellent acceptance speech) and Matt Dillon's Best Chef Northwest nod. This year Seattle names are all over the place. Here are the rest of the local semifinalists. For more context (and, let's face it, to see how we stack up against Portland) check out the full list.
Outstanding Chef: Maria Hines
Outstanding Pastry Chef: William Leaman of Bakery Nouveau
Outstanding Restaurant: Canlis
Outstanding Restaurateur: John Howie
Outstanding Service: Café Juanita
Best Chef Northwest:
Chris Ainsworth, Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen (Walla Walla)
Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins
Jason Franey, Canlis
Nathan Lockwood, Altura
Ethan Stowell, Staple and Fancy
Jason Stratton, Spinasse
Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule