Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- Eight New Orleans chefs are one step closer to winning a James Beard Award – considered the Oscar of the food world – following the announcement of award finalists on Monday.
More than a dozen local chefs and restaurants were singled out in February when semifinalists were announced. Monday’s announcement advances the finalists to the award ceremony, which will be held May 7.
Among those who made the cut as finalists are four chefs nominated in the category of Best Chef: South. They are Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery, John Harris of Lilette, Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace and Alon Shaya of Domenica. McPhail and Harris were also nominated last year in this chef category, which was ultimately won by Cochon’s Stephen Stryjewski.
Former Beard Award winner Donald Link, of Herbsaint and Cochon fame, is nominated as a finalist in the Outstanding Chef category.
Gautreau’s chef Sue Zemanick is once again nominated this year for Rising Star Chef of the Year. She has been a finalist the previous three years.
Also, Emeril Lagasse’s flagship restaurant, Emeril’s, is a finalist for its wine program and chef/restaurant owner John Besh’s second cookbook, My Family Table, is nominated for a book award.
Also, Times-Picayune food writer Brett Anderson is nominated for a journalism award, in the environment/food politics/policy category for a profile of a local family's oyster company, following the Gulf oil disaster. Anderson is also a member of the Beard Awards restaurant and chef awards committee.