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15th Annual Jean Banchet Award Nominees Announced

It's been a big week for Chicago chefs. On Monday, Eater announced the winners in the 2011 Eater Awards. Then on Tuesday, Michelin released its 2012 Chicago guide. And today, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced the nominees for the 15th annual Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence.

The awards, set in multiple categories including chef of the year, rising pastry chef of the year and best new restaurant, will be revealed on Jan. 27 at the Fairmont Hotel at the Grand Chefs Gala, a swanky ball benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The big category—Chef of the Year—sees a pretty interesting and not-necessarily-predictable crop of chefs going to head-to-head: Ryan LaRoche (NoMI Kitchen), Dan Pancake (Autre Monde), Giuseppe Tentori (GT Fish & Oyster) and Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia).

The list of nominees is a mixed bag, like Dave Beran as chef de cuisine at Next (isn't he executive chef?); Chris Curren from Blue 13 as rising chef; Boka's Sarah Jordan for rising pastry chef (a good comeback after her stint at The Black Sheep); Sepia's Joshua Pearson as best mixologist (a new category); Blue 13 for best fine dining (if fine dining came with a killer dose of rock 'n' roll) and Autre Monde in best new restaurant and best neighborhood restaurant categories.

So who all was nominated? Check out the full list:

Chef of the Year: Ryan LaRoche, NoMI; Dan Pancake, Autre Monde; Giuseppe Tentori, GT Fish & Oyster; Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia

Pastry Chef of the Year: Bryce Caron, Blackbird; Meg Galus, NoMI; Amanda Rockman, The Bristol; Cindy Schuman, Sepia

Best Chef-de-Cuisine: Dave Beran, Next; Sean Pharr, NoMI; David Posey, Blackbird; Brian Runge, Graham Elliot

Rising Chef of the Year: Chris Curren, Blue 13; Danny Grant, RIA; Chris Macchia, Coco Pazzo; Paul Dobroski, Everest

Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Aya Fukai, RIA; Sarah Jordan, BOKA; Stephanie Mazzone, Coco Pazzo; Kady Yon, Pump Room at Public Chicago

Best Sommelier: Scott Harny, Eno at the Intercontinental; Michael Muser, The Peninsula Chicago; Dan Pilkey, RIA; Aaron Sherman, NoMI

Best Mixologist (New award in 2011): Stephen Cole, The Barrelhouse Flat; Lynn House, Blackbird; Debbi Peek, The Bristol; Josh Pearson, Sepia

Best New Restaurant (New award in 2011): Autre Monde; GT Fish & Oyster; Next; Vera

Best Neighborhood Restaurant: Autre Monde; The Bristol; Maude’s Liquor Bar; Vera

Best Fine Dining: Blue 13; Coco Pazzo; Next; Sepia

Best Catering Company: BOKA Catering; Catering by Michaels; Entertaining Company; Limelight

· Announcing the 2011 Eater Award Winners for Chicago [~EChi~]
· Michelin Guide Revealed: Alinea Keeps 3 Stars, L20 Drops to 1, Avenues Off List [~EChi~]
Ryan LaRoche [Photo: James Beard Foundation]/Andrew Zimmerman [Photo: Facebook]