Louis chefs, two restaurants among James Beard Award semifinalists

Coco enjoys fresh ricotta dumplings at Coco and The Cellar Bar in Easthampton

Coco enjoys fresh ricotta dumplings at Coco and The Cellar Bar in Easthampton

The first round of this year's James Beard Foundation award announcements was made this morning and Detroit chefs, bakers, and restaurants were well represented on the long list of semifinalists.

On March 7, the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour is featuring cuisine from Miller and Hunter and numerous other Wisconsin top chefs from the 2017 James Beard semifinalists at the Tre Rivali in the Third Ward of Milwaukee. The Foundation will announce the final nominees for award categories, as well as the nominees for the Media and Restaurant Design Awards, March 14 at 9:30 a.m.

Also, on the Best Chefs:South semifinalist list is Bill Briand, who works at Fisher's in Orange Beach, Florida. One of Link's other restaurants, Peche, is a previous victor for Best New Restaurant. Working with him are sous chef Bryan Russo, center, and Derek Graue, at the hearth.

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In 2016, in Best Chef: Southwest Dallas has four chef nominations out of 20: Matt McCallister, FT33; Teiichi Sakurai, Tei-An; David Uygur, Lucia; and Omar Flores, Casa Rubia.

The list of semifinalists is to sent to a panel of more than 600 judges from across the country.

Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe won "Best Chef: Midwest" a year ago, the second St. Louis chef to do so, following Gerard Craft of Niche in 2015.

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-- Highlands Bar and Grill's Frank Stitt, for best chef in the Southeast in 2001. Selden Standard's Lena Sareini could win Rising Star Chef of the Year. Last year, his chef at Herbsaint, Rebecca Wilcomb, won the award for Best Chef: South. L'Etoile's wine program was a semi-finalist in 2013.

Dong Phuong, the Vietnamese bakery and restaurant which is coming off of a Carnival season which saw its extremely popular king cake make headlines, was previously announced as an America's Classics award victor. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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