Dominic Massa / EyewitnessNews

Four New Orleans chefs advanced to the next round of competition as finalists were announced Monday for the James Beard Foundation Awards, considered one of the food world's highest honors.

The four local chefs are among the nominees for Best Chef South. They are: Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery; Tory McPhail, Commander's Palace; Alon Shaya, Domenica; and Sue Zemanick, Gautreau's. The other chef nominated in the category is Jeff McInnis of Miami Beach.

New Orleans chef Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette did not advance to the next round in that competition, however. Devillier, Shaya and McPhail were all nominated last year but all came home empty-handed.

The final awards will be handed outMay 6.

John Besh's signature Restaurant August is also nominated this year, as one of five nationwide semifinalists advancing to the final round of competition for outstanding restaurant. 15 other semifinalists, previously announced in February, were eliminated from that category.

Unfortunately, chef Brian Landry, Besh's partner in Borgne, the new restaurant in the Hyatt Regency Hotel,did not advance to the next round of competition for best new restaurant. He was one of 30 national semifinalist nominees announced previously.

Other local semifinalists who did not advance to the finalist round were: Herbsaint chef Donald Link, a previous Beard award winner, who was nominated as a semifinalist in the outstanding chef category; and Chef Frank Brigtsen, whose Brigtsen's was nominated for best service.

Cure, the popular Freret St. cocktail bar, was a semifinalist this year for outstanding bar program and the recently updated Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel was nominated for outstanding wine program, also as a semifinalist.

Also honored at the ceremony in May will be superstar chef Emeril Lagasse who will be presented with the foundation's Humanitarian of the Year award.

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