The James Beard Foundation has announced the 2014 semifinalists for its Restaurant and Chef award categories today, the state of Florida got several nods and specific recognition for its culinary achievements.
Even Orlando got a pat on the head from the prestigious foundation for hosting the announcement at the city's East End Market, with the Beard Foundation calling Orlando, "one of Florida's burgeoning culinary hubs." Ouch.
Beard award semifinalists were chosen after an online "open call," where anyone could submit their suggestion. Nearly 40,000 submissions were received and were weeded down by the foundation's Restaurant and Chef Awards committee, composed of critics, writers, and editors to the list of semifinalists. From there, a group of former Beard award winners, committee members, and other regional panelists cast their votes from the semifinalists, to choose the finalists. That short list will be announced in Chicago on March 18. The actual awards ceremony takes place in New York City on May 2 and 5.
Although several Florida establishments and chefs were named as semifinalists, only one had a Broward or Palm Beach connection. Stephen Starr of Philadelphia-based Starr Restaurants was named in the Outstanding Restauranteur category. Starr Restaurants owns Steak 954 in Fort Lauderdale.
We'll just have to wait until next year. Here's the list of Florida-based semifinalists, in case you want to take a road trip to experience their fare:
- The Broken Shaker, Miami Beach (Outstanding Bar Program)
- Michael Schwartz, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami (Outstanding Chef)
- Jose Mendin, Pubbelly, Miami Beach (Best Chef: South)
- Horacio Rivadero, The District Miami, Miami (Best Chef: South)
- Greg Baker, The Refinery, Tampa (Best Chef: South)
- Chad Johnson, SideBern's, Tampa (Best Chef: South)
- James and Julie Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park (Best Chef: South)
- Steve Phelps, Indigenous, Sarasota (Best Chef: South)
- Hari Pulapaka, Cress, DeLand (Best Chef: South)
- Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia -- Steak 954, Makoto, Verde Restaurant and Bar (Outstanding Restaurateur)
- Bern's Steak House, Tampa (Outstanding Restaurant)
- Joey Redner, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, (Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional)
For a complete list of semifinalists, visit jamesbeard.org.