The James Beard Foundation (www.jamesbeard.org) announced finalists for its annual culinary and hospitality awards. The list includes nine New Orleans nominees. Winners will be announced May 7 in Chicago.
Donald Link (www.linkrestaurantgroup.com), the chef and owner behind Cochon, Herbsaint, Peche and other restaurants, is nominated for Outstanding Chef. Kelly Fields of Willa Jean (611 O'Keefe Ave., 504-509-7334; www.willajean.com) is nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Nominees for Best Chef: South include Nina Compton of Compere Lapin (Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, 535 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-599-2119; www.comperelapin.com), Slade Rushing of Brennan's (417 Royal St., 504-525-9711; www.brennansneworleans.com) and Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette (2800 Magazine St., 504-265-0421; www.coquettenola.com).
JoAnn Clevenger of Upperline Restaurant (1413 Upperline St., 504-891-9822; www.upperline.com) is nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur. Cure (4905 Freret St., 504-302-2357; www.curenola.com) is nominated for Outstanding Bar Program.