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Scott Harris, Curtis Duffy, Dale Levitski Among James Beard Award Semi-Finalists

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The James Beard Foundation released its list of semi-finalists for the coveted "Oscars of the food world," and a number of Chicago chefs and restaurants have been targeted. Many of the nominees have appeared in the past, but a few stand-out first-timers showed up.

Stephanie Izard's Girl & The Goat was nominated for Outstanding New Restaurant, while Dale Levitski (Sprout), another Top Chef alum, got a nod for Best Chef, Great Lakes category. Scott Harris, who opened a number of new restaurants last year, was listed in the Outstanding Restaurateur category for the first time. Blackbird's Patrick Fahy was tapped in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category. Tru's Anthony Martin was nominated for the Rising Star Chef category for chefs under 30.

While it certainly is exciting to get nominated in this round, voting will take place over the next few weeks to narrow each category to five nominees. Finalists will be announced on March 21. Chicago has many entries, so hopefully the voters will keep our chefs and restaurants in the running for the May 9 gala in New York.

Congrats and good luck to all of the nominees:

· Outstanding Restaurant: Spiaggia, Tru
· Outstanding Chef: Paul Kahan (Blackbird); Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia)
· Outstanding Service: Topolobampo, Les Nomades
· Outstanding New Restaurant: Girl & The Goat
· Best Chef, Great Lakes: Curtis Duffy (Avenues); Dale Levitski (Sprout); Paul Virant (Vie); Michael Carlson (Schwa); Dirk Flanigan (Henri); Chris Nugent (Les Nomades); Bruce Sherman (North Pond)
· Rising Star Chef: Anthony Martin (Tru)
· Restaurateur of the Year: Rich Melman; Scott Harris
· Outstanding Pastry Chef: Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate); Patrick Fahy (Blackbird)
· Outstanding Wine Service: Michael Muser (Avenues)
· Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional: Charles Joly (The Drawing Room)

· Award Watch: 2011 Restaurant and Chef Awards Semi-Finalists [JBF]


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