Just as the Oscars will bestow awards for the best in film this week, the culinary award fairy has touched down today with James Beard Foundation nominations. The semifinalists for James Beard Foundation awards were announced earlier today and Vermont has more contenders for Best Chef: Northeast than ever before.
No surprise that Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Wood at the Grist Mill is a contender. This is his fifth year as a nominee. But since he's consistently made it to the finals, he's at least gotten to go to the big awards show, to be held in May. Fingers crossed that this year will end his Susan Lucci-like streak.
Steve Atkins of the Kitchen Table Bistro is nominated for the third time. He and his wife Lara, a pastry chef, were semifinalists for the honor in both 2009 and 2010.
Though Atkins is named alone this year, another team did make the list: Aaron Josinsky and Nathaniel Wade (right) of Misery Loves Co. Wade was named a semifinalist in 2011 for his work at ¡Duino! (Duende). Both were working at Bluebird Tavern in 2010 when it was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.
No such honors were floated to Vermont this year. Last year, Pistou was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.
So beside delicious food, what do all four nominated chefs have in common? They all cooked at the James Beard house in 2010 as part of Team Vermont. Finalists will be announced on March 18 and we expect at least a few of this year's pack will make the cut.