As everyone close to the food world already knows, yesterday the semifinalists for the 2012 James Beard Awards were announced. Here are the categories with finalists I'm familiar with and who I'm rooting for:
Outstanding Bar Program: Drink, Boston
If you know me at all, you'll know this was a no-brainer. I've loved Drink from the moment I had my first drink there during my first week in Boston. The bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable yet so unpretentious. I love that. Already dreaming about the Southside I'll order when I visit in March...
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston & Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery and Cafe, Boston.
Flour and Sofra are literally my two favorite restaurants in Boston. Joanne stole my heart with her berry bread pudding as did Maura with her Moroccan donuts and chocolate hazelnut baklava.
Outstanding Restauranteur: Roger Berkowitz, Legal Sea Foods, Boston
Legal Sea Foods is overpriced no doubt, but it was the first restaurant I ate at in Boston when my Dad and I went to visit Emerson College, so it has a special place in my heart.
Best Chef Northeast: Jamie Bissonnette, Coppa, Boston
If Flour and Sofra comprise my top 2 in Boston, Toro makes the top 3. Not sure why Jamie Bissonnette is nominated for Coppa, not Toro, but I'm as long as he's nominated, it works for me.
Best Chef Northwest: Naomi Pomeroy, Beast, Portland & Cathy Whims, Nostrana, Portland
My dinner at Beast was one of the best meals I've ever had- if not the best- and I've only done happy hour at Nostrana, but I'd be happy if Naomi or Cathy won. Slightly more for Naomi, but you know. PDX love!