2/17/16 | The James Beard Foundation has released its much-anticipated list of 2016 James Beard Award semifinalists (chef categories) — and JWU alumni are well-represented.
Every year, the list celebrates the best and brightest restaurants, chefs and front-of-house teams the American culinary scene has to offer.
Mind of a Chef subjects Sean Brock and David Kinch were both nominated for the Outstanding Chef category.
Denver alum Brad Kilgore received a nod for Rising Star of the Year AND Best New Restaurant for Alter, his Miami restaurant that opened last year.
Nicks on Broadway’s Derek Wagner is a first-time semifinalist for Best Chef Northeast (he was previously nominated for Rising Star).
Other JWU alums in the Best Chef Northeast category include Sarma’s Cassie Piuma and Persimmon’s Champe Speidel. (Fun fact: Derek and Champe front an all-chef band called Turn for the Wurst.)
The final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominations for Book, Journalism, Broadcast Media, and Restaurant Design Awards, will be announced on Tuesday, March 15.
The 2016 Awards Gala will be held at Chicago’s Lyric Opera on Monday, May 2.
2016 Semifinalist Nominees
Best New Restaurant
Alter, Miami (Brad Kilgore ’06)
Sean Brock ’00, ’14 Hon., Husk FINALIST
David Kinch ’81, ’14 Hon., Manresa
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Kelly Fields ‘02, Willa Jean, New Orleans
Frasca Food & Wine, Denver (Ian Wortham '12) FINALIST
Outstanding Wine Program
FIG (Overseen by Adam Nemirow '00) FINALIST
Rising Star of the Year
Bradley Kilgore '06, Alter, Miami
Jenner Tomaska '10, Next, Chicago FINALIST
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Sydney Meers '85, Stove, The Restaurant, Portsmouth, VA
Best Chef: New York City
James Kent '02, The NoMad
Best Chef: Northeast
Cassie Piuma '02, Sarma, Somerville, MA
Champe Speidel '00, Persimmon, Bristol, RI (moving to Providence, RI in April)
Derek Wagner '99, Nicks on Broadway, Providence
Best Chef: South
Nate Allen '00, Knife and Fork, Spruce Pine, NC
Vishwesh Bhatt '99, Snackbar, Oxford, MS FINALIST
José Mendín '03, Pubbelly, Miami Beach, FL
Best Chef: Southeast
Brian Canipelli '02, Cucina24, Asheville, NC
Kevin Johnson '96, The Grocery, Charleston, SC
Erik Niel '00, Easy Bistro, Chattanooga, TN
Andrew Ticer '04 and Michael Hudman '04, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis FINALISTS
Aaron Vandemark '01, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC
Best Chef: West
Jeremy Fox, Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, CA FINALIST
BELOW: SALMON CRUDO BY CHAMPE SPEIDEL (PERSIMMON RI)