The list of James Beard Foundation food award nominees has been whittled down further, with Tuesday’s announcement of this year’s finalists, which include several local chefs and restaurants.
Peche, the Warehouse District seafood eatery opened last year by chefs Donald Link and Ryan Prewitt, is up for best new restaurant, competing against restaurants in New York and San Francisco.
Prewitt is also a finalist in the Best Chef: South category, alongside local chef/restaurateurs Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery, Alon Shaya of Domenica and Sue Zemanick of Gautreau's and Ivy. They earned four of the five nominations in the category. The fifth nominee is Vishwesh Bhatt of Snackbar, in Oxford, Miss. The southern chef category covers nominees from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico.
Other local semifinalists announced earlier were Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette and Isaac Toups of Toups’ Meatery. Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace won the award last year.
Other local honorees include Chef John Besh, who will be inducted into James Beard’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage, and Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and will be named one of America’s Classics.
Besh and Hansen’s, along with other winners, will be recognized and announced May 5.