The 2014 James Beard Foundation Award nominees were revealed Tuesday morning at The Publican, and perhaps the pithiest way to sum up Chicago’s representation this year: No surprises.
The major categories brought back familiar names: Spiaggia, currently closed for renovation, is a finalist for outstanding restaurant, a national award recognizing businesses in operation for 10-plus years. Topolobampo is once against shortlisted for outstanding service.
Rising star chef of the year recognizes cooks under 30, and two of last year’s finalists make a repeat appearance in 2014: Jimmy Bannos, Jr. of The Purple Pig and David Posey of Blackbird.
Posey is one of four nominees from One Off Hospitality Group, whose founding chef Paul Kahan was a co-winner in last year’s top prize, outstanding chef. The other finalists from One Off are Donnie Madia for outstanding restaurateur, The Violet Hour for outstanding bar program, plus Blackbird’s Dana Cree for outstanding pastry chef. Chef Paul Kahan will also be inducted as this year’s James Beard’s “Who’s who of food and beverage in America,” a hall of fame of sorts in culinary circles.
Best chef: Great Lakes is a regional prize, and as in past years, Chicagoland dominates with four of five finalists: Next’s Dave Beran, Grace’s Curtis Duffy, Vie’s Paul Virant (in Western Springs) and Sepia’s Andrew Zimmerman. The final nominee in the category is Jonathon Sawyer of Cleveland’s The Greenhouse Tavern.
Maria Contreras, Christopher Lawton and Micah Stanley of Lawton Stanley Architects, the team that designed Grace, is a finalist for outstanding restaurant design, 75 seats and under.
In the books division, Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago's French Pastry School, is nominated in baking and dessert category for his book "The Art of French Pastry."
The chef/restaurant awards will be held at May 5 at New York’s Lincoln Center, while the books, journalism and broadcast awards will be named March 2.
The full list of nominees from across the country can be found here.
Twitter @ChiTribFoodCopyright © 2015, RedEye