Local and national food media packed into East End Market to hear first-hand the announcement of the 2014 James Beard Award Semifinalists, which presenter and previous winner Norman Van Aken dubbed “the Oscars of the food world.”
It being the first time the semifinalists have ever been announced live outside of New York City, the atmosphere was understandably giddy… or maybe that was just the feeling of so many attendees collectively hoping to hear the names of our local chefs honored with a semifinalist nod for Best Chef: South.
Four Orlando-area chefs— James and Julie Petrakis (The Ravenous Pig)
Hari Pulapaka (Cress), and Henry Salgado (Spanish River Grill)—heard their names read from the podium along with a handful of other Florida chefs and restaurants who will also vie for top honors at The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception in New York City on Monday, May 5.
Notable Florida semifinalists include Best Chef: South nominees Greg Baker (The Refinery, Tampa), Chad Johnson (SideBern’s, Tampa), Jose Mendin (Pubbelly, Miami Beach), and Steve Phelps (Indigenous, Sarasota). Bern’s Steak House in Tampa was nominated in the Outstanding Restaurant category. See the full list of nominees here.
Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program.