Alabama restaurants, 4 chefs among semifinalists for 2018 James Beard Awards

Chef Ryan Smith

Chef Ryan Smith

A list of semifinalists have been selected from more than 20,000 online entries in 21 categories and in ten different regions of the United States, representing a wide range of culinary talent from best new restaurants, outstanding bar programs, bakers, chefs and rising star chefs (aged 30 or younger).

This is the ninth year in a row that Richmond restaurateurs have been honored as semifinalists for the top culinary award in the country - and the first year that An Bui has been named. L'Etoile was nominated in the category of "Outstanding Restaurant" previous year as well. Here's a look at who is up for the big awards in Pa. The Bartolotta Restaurants in Milwaukee are semifinalists for Outstanding Restauranteur. Candidates must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

Kelly Fields, pastry chef and partner in Willa Jean café and bakery, is back for the fourth year as a nominee for this national award.

-- Highlands Bar and Grill's Frank Stitt, for best chef in the Southeast in 2001. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years.

Last year, the Best Chef: South award went to Rebecca Wilcomb of Herbsaint. He is now culinary director at Pomegranate Hospitality, the culinary company Alon Shaya started last fall after being fired from the Besh group.

The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 7, 2018 where the winners will be announced.

Great food is the gift that New Orleans gives to itself, to its visitors, to anyone with an appreciative appetite. This nomination is the fifth time Oakley has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, twice as a Rising Star Chef nominee, and twice as a Best Chefs in America semifinalist in 2008 and 2011.

New Orleans had almost a dozen finalists in the running for the James Beard Foundation awards on Monday night.

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