Chicago’s The Blanchard, Alinea among James Beard Award semi-finalists

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The James Beard Foundation today announced its list of semi-finalists for its annual culinary awards to be presented May 2 at Chicago’s Civic Opera House. The finalists will be announced on March 15. For more information, the complete list of nationwide nominees and tickets to the gala awards ceremony on May 2, visit

The Chicago nominees include:

Outstanding Restaurant


Best New Restaurant

The Blanchard


Outstanding Chef

Tony Montuano, Spiaggia

Carrie Nahabedian, Naha

Chef Tanya Baker, of The Boarding House| Sun-Times Photo

Chef Tanya Baker, of The Boarding House| Sun-Times Photo

Best Chef (Great Lakes Region):

Jake Bickelhaupt, 42 Grams

Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice

Curtis Duffy, Grace

Paul Fehribach, Big Jones

Phillip Foss, EL Ideas

Eric Heath, Cleveland-Heath, Edwardsville, Ill.

Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute

Ryan McCaskey, Acadia

Iliana Regan, Elizabeth

Lee Wolen, Boka

Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Tanya Baker, Boarding House

Edward Sura, Perennial Virant

Jenner Tomaska, Next

Outstanding Baker

Dave and Megan Miller, Baker Miller Bakery & Millhouse

Outstanding Bar Program

Lost Lake

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Meg Galus, Boka

Outstanding Restaurateur

Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago (Boka, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro, Swift & Sons, and others)

Outstanding Service

North Pond


Outstanding Wine Program


Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional

Charles Joly, Crafthouse


The James Beard Foundation previously announced chef/author/television personality Leah Chase as the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, and Father Gregory Boyle, S.J., founder of Homeboy Industries, as the recipient of the 2016 Humanitarian of the Year award.

Each year, a list of semifinalists (this year, culled from more than 20,000 entries) is sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners, votes on specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category. The same judges then vote on these five nominees to select the winners.

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