North Carolina is represented in the 2018 nominees announced today by The James Beard Awards. The previous list of semifinalists was rich with Texan nominees out of Houston, Austin and even a two pitmasters (Norma Frances "Tootsie" Tomanetz of Snow's BBQ and Ronni Killen of Killen Steakhouse), and locally, first-time semifinalists Diego Galicia and Rico Torres of Mixtli. Also at the 2017 James Beard Awards, Gioia's Deli was one of five restaurants nationwide recognized as an "America's Classic." This year, Zahav received a new chef nomination, this time for Camille Cogswell, under the category Rising Star Chef. It is the third straight year Miles has been a James Beard finalist.
In the James Beard Foundation's Journalism Awards, Nancie McDermott of Southern Living magazine is a finalist in the Home Cooking category for her feature "Lost Pies of the South", and Hunter Lewis of Cooking Light is a finalist in the Food and Health category for his "What Healthy Means Now" piece.
Ella Brennan (seated) with her niece Lally Brennan (left), daughter Ti Martin and her sister, Dottie Brennan.
In the regional chef competition for Best Chef: South, Nina Compton of Compère Lapin (and the soon to open Bywater American Bistro) is nominated, along with Slade Rushing of Brennan's and Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette. The category is reserved for chefs aged 30 or younger. She was also a nominee previous year. While over 20 DC-area names were recognized in almost every category in this year's first round, only a handful remain contenders. Virginia's Foggy Ridge Cider is in the running for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional.
Per usual, the lengthy list of semifinalists was whittled down to a talented few.
The Times-Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson is nominated in the media categories for his investigation of sexual harassment at the Besh Restaurant Group.
Winners will be announced on May 7.