James Beard Award finalists announced



A dozen New Orleans chefs, restaurants and bars were nominated in February for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards, and with the release today of the foundation’s pared down list of finalists the city is still making a good showing.

Donald Link of Herbsaint, Cochon and Cochon Butcher is up for the Outstanding Chef award while Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s is up for a Rising Star Chef of the Year award, marking the fourth consecutive year she has been nominated for this award.

Four of the five nominees for the Best Chef: South award this year are New Orleans chefs. In the running are Justin Devillier of La Petit Grocery, John Harris of Lilette, Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace and Alon Shaya of Domenica. Harris and McPhail were each nominated for the same award last year as well. Link won the Best Chef: South award in 2007, and his co-chef at Cochon, Stephen Stryjewski, won it last year.

Emeril’s Restaurant made the cut as a semi-finalist for the Outstanding Wine Service award this year.

The James Beard Foundation today also announced nominees for its journalism and book awards.

John Besh’s cookbook “My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking” is up for an award. His first cookbook “My New Orleans” was similarly nominated in 2010, the same year that Link’s cookbook “Real Cajun” won a book award.

Brett Anderson, restaurant writer for the Times-Picayune, sits on the foundation’s 17-member Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee. He’s also up for a James Beard honor this year himself in foundation’s journalism awards category. He was nominated for a pair of stories documenting the Collins family of oyster fishermen in Golden Meadow after the BP oil spill.

Anderson has previously won two James Beard journalism awards, first in 2005 for a profile on chef Paul Prudhomme and again in 2008 for a five-part series about the post-Katrina recover of Mandina’s Restaurant.

Award winners will be named at events in New York on May 4 and 7.

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