In the culinary world, the James Beard Foundation Awards are the Oscars and Emmys rolled into one package. Each year, the finest chefs and restaurants in America are recognized for culinary excellence and achievement, as well as for their emphasis on the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, preserve and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity. This year’s alumni nominees for regional best-chef honors include: Champe Speidel, chef and co-owner of Persimmon and Persimmon Provisions, Bristol, RI; José Mendín of Miami’s Pubbelly, and Waterbury, Vt. and one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs in 2008. Will Gilson earned a Rising Star Chef nod for his newest venture, Puritan & Company, a bistro that celebrates regional New England cuisine. Also new to this category: Jorel Pierce, “Top Chef” Season 10 contestant and chef at Denver’s Euclid Hall. Regina Mehallick, chef-owner of Indianapolis’ R Bistro and a representative of Slow Food International, was honored for the third time, while Chris Nugent appears for the first time with his new solo venture, Goosefoot. JWU North Miami graduates Jeff McInnis and José Mendín were chosen for their maverick approaches to down-home Southern and Asian fusion, respectively. Wylie Dufresne ’07 Hon. was honored in the Best Chef: New York City category, while Legal Seafood’s Roger Berkowitz '01 Hon. was nominated in the Outstanding Restaurateur category. Winners will be announced on May 6th in New York City.2013 James Beard Foundation Award Alumni Semifinalists
About the James Beard Awards Established in 1990 and widely considered the country's most coveted culinary honor, the James Beard Foundation Awards honor the best and the brightest talents in the food and beverage industries, celebrating outstanding achievement in each of the following categories: Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design and Graphics, Book, Broadcast, Journalism, and special achievement awards.