The 2015 James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence (www.jamesbeard.org) semifinalists were announced last week, and the list includes five New Orleans chefs in the Best Chef: South category. Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery (4238 Magazine St., 504-891-3377; www.lapetitegrocery.com); Slade Rushing of Brennan's (417 Royal St., 504-525-9711; www.brennansneworleans.com); Alon Shaya of Domenica (123 Baronne St., 504-628-6020; www.domenicarestaurant.com); Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette (2800 Magazine St., 504-265-0421; www.coquettenola.com); and Isaac Toups of Toups' Meatery (845 N. Carrollton Ave., 504-252-4999; www.toupsmeatery.com) are among the 20 semifinalists in the category.
Also nominated for Outstanding Chef was Donald Link (www.donaldlink.com) for his restaurant Herbsaint (Link also operates Cochon and Peche). Longtime Upperline Restaurant (1413 Upperline St., 504-891-9822; www.upperline.com) proprietor JoAnn Clevenger received a nod in the Outstanding Restaurateur category; Brigtsen's (723 Dante St., 504-861-7610; www.brigtsens.com) was nominated for Outstanding Service; and Kelly Fields of Restaurant August (301 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-299-9777; www.restaurantaugust.com) was recognized in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category.
New Orleans also did well in Outstanding Bar Program, placing two local bars among the 20 semifinalists: Arnaud's French 75 (813 Bienville St., 504-523-5433; www.arnaudsrestaurant.com) and Cane & Table (1113 Decatur St., 504-581-1112; www.caneandtablenola.com).
Though New Orleans is going through a boom of new restaurants, not one placed in the Best New Restaurant category. Last year, Link's Peche (800 Magazine St., 504-522-1744; www.pecherestaurant.com) took home the national award.
More than 35,000 submissions were made this year during an open call, according to a press release from the James Beard Foundation. Finalists will be announced at a ceremony in New York City March 24, and the annual awards gala will be held May 4 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.