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Chicago’s 2017 Jean Banchet culinary award nominees announced

Chef Mindy Segal, owner of HotChocolate (pictured earlier this year in Chicago), is nominated for a Jean Banchet Award in the category for pastry chef of the year. | Ashlee Rezin/for Sun-Times Media

The nominees for the 2017 Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence, were announced Monday. The Chicago-based honors recognize “culinary originality and talent throughout the region.” Nominations are culled from a two-week public online voting period and the finalists are then selected by an official panel of food experts.

The winners will be announced Jan. 15 in a ceremony at VenueSix10, 610 S. Michigan. Tickets may be purchased here. The event will benefit the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Here is the list of the 2017 Jean Banchet Award Nominees:

Restaurant of the Year

Blackbird

EL Ideas

Schwa

Sepia

Chef of the Year

Andrew Brochu (Roister)

Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde)

Gene Kato (Sumi Robata Bar)

John Manion (La Sirena Clandestina/El Che Bar)

Rising Chef of the Year

Ashlee Aubin (Salero)

Cameron Grant (Osteria Langhe/Animale)

Bill Montagne & Jennifer Kim (Snaggletooth)

Charles Welch (Honey’s)

Best Chef-de-Cuisine

Wilson Bauer (Schwa)

Nick Dostal (Sixteen)

Ryan Pfeiffer (Blackbird)

Sarah Rinkavage (Lula Café)

Pastry Chef of the Year

Meg Galus (Swift & Sons/Momotaro/BOKA)

Genie Kwon (Oriole)

Mindy Segal (Mindy’s HotChocolate)

Cindy Schuman (Sepia)

Rising Pastry Chef of the Year

Dave Brandenburgh (Band of Bohemia)

Alison Cates (Honey’s)

Aya Fukai (Maple & Ash)

Marianna Reynolds (El Che Bar)

Best Neighborhood Restaurant

Arbor

Owen & Engine

Snaggletooth

Sumi Robata Bar

Best Ethnic Restaurant

5 Loaves Eatery

Go 4 Food

Hanbun

Immm Rice & Beyond

Best New Restaurant

The Loyalist

Monteverde

Oriole

Roister

Best Sommelier

Rachel Driver Speckan (City Winery)

Parag Lalit, (Sixteen)

Aaron McManus (Oriole)

Terry McNeese (de Quay)

Best Mixologist

Griffin Elliott (Sepia)

Nandini Khaund (Cindy’s)

Julia Momose (GreenRiver)

Benjamin Schiller (The Berkshire Room/The Sixth/Steadfast)

Best Restaurant Design

Dixie

El Che Bar

GT Prime

Smyth

Best Restaurant Service

BOKA

Honey’s

Maple & Ash

Oriole

Best Alternative Dining

Claudia

Happy Lobster

Nomad

Tamale Spaceship