Beard
The quest to bring home this cuddly-looking man's face. Photo via James Beard Foundation.

 After narrowing down more than 44,000 online entries to its list of semifinalists last month, The James Beard Foundation today announced the actual nominees for the highest culinary honor in the land.

Today the winners were announced live at Lowndes Grove Plantation in food-nerd mecca Charleston, South Carolina; the winners get announced at a fancy ceremony in New York May 6 (with Stanley Tucci hosting!) How many more years until the award ceremony is shown on actual TV?

 Seattle represented quite well in the last round, but boy the awards committee pruned out a lot of names.

But here's the good news...

COOKBOOK AWARDS (announced May 3)

Cookbooks: General Cooking: Modernist Cuisine at Home, Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet

Cookbooks: Baking and Dessert: The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle, Tom Douglas and Shelley Lance

Cookbooks: Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian: Herbivoracious, Michael Natkin

CHEF AND RESTAURANT AWARDS (announced May 6)

Rising Star Chef of the YearWillows Inn chef Blaine Wetzel joins some impressive names like Jimmy Bannos of the Purple Pig in Chicago, Mission Chinese Food phenom Danny Bowien, Blackbird's David Posey, and Thomas McNaughton of Flour + Water in San Francisco.

Best Chef Northwest:

Jason Franey, Canlis

Ethan Stowell, Staple and Fancy

Naomi Pomeroy, Beast (Portland)

Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon (Portland)

Cathy Whims, Nostrana (Portland)