NC’s 2017 James Beard Award Semifinalists: Full List

CHARLOTTE, NC — The food world is gearing up for its version of the Oscars. The James Beard Foundation released its list of semifinalists Wednesday for national and regional chef and restaurant awards and, as expected, several North Carolina restaurants and chefs are up for awards this year, including Chef Joe Kindred of Kindred in Davidson.

The list of semifinalists announced Wednesday will be sent to a panel of more than 600 judges — made up mainly of restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators and past James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners — to whittle each category down to five nominees. The finalists are announced on March 15 and the winners will be announced May 1 in Chicago, according to the James Beard Foundation.

This year North Carolina racked up 12 semifinalists in national restaurant awards categories such as best new restaurant, outstanding baker, outstanding chef and rising star chef of the year. Six chefs were also named semifinalists for the regional best chef award.

Here’s the full list of North Carolina chefs and restaurants named James Beard Foundation Award semifinalists:

Best New Restaurant:


Brewery Bhavana, Raleigh, NC

Outstanding Baker:

David Bauer, Farm & Sparrow, Asheville, NC

Outstanding Chef:

Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, NC

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional:

Leah Wong Ashburn, Highland Brewing Co., Asheville, NC Sean Lilly Wilson, Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, NC

Rising Star Chef of the Year:

Gabe Barker, Pizzeria Mercato, Carrboro, NC

Best Chef: Southeast:

Katie Button, Nightbell, Asheville, NC Vivian Howard, Chef & The Farmer, Kinston, NC Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani, Asheville, NC Sam Jones, Sam Jones BBQ, Winterville, NC Joe Kindred, Kindred, Davidson, NC Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh, NC

Patch Editor Brendan Krisel contributed

Photo by Shutterstock

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