A bit of old news, but if you didn’t already know, the James Beard Foundation--known commonly as the “Oscars of the food world”--has announced its semi-finalists for 2013 and a few lucky recipients are right here in the Triangle.
The much-exalted tapas restaurant in Durham, Mateo Tapas, received a nod for Best New Restaurant. With menu items like chicken liver mousse and chicharones served with piquillo chow chow, there’s little epicurean wonder why this Bull City restaurant has garnered national attention.
Mateo Tapas isn’t the only eatery in Durham on the semifinalist list. Nearby in downtown Durham at Scratch Bakery, Phoebe Lawless also picked up a semifinalist nod for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Fellow Durhamite Scott Howell is also recognized for Best Chef in the Southeast for Nana’s.
And if that list of foodie heavyweights isn't enough for you to believe why Durham is up for the title of Southern Living’s "The South's Tastiest Town" contest (voting has recently ended), the stockpile of Bull City semifinalists also includes craft brewer Sean Wilson of Fullsteam Brewery, up for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional.
Down the road in Chapel Hill, Chef Andrea Reusing’s Lantern is battling it out for Outstanding Restaurant. Here in Raleigh, Ashley Christensen is a semifinalist for Best Chef in the Southeast for her work at Poole’s Diner. And long-time steakhouse mainstay Angus Barn in Raleigh is a semifinalist for Best Wine Program. Elsewhere in North Carolina, Asheville’s Chef Katie Button has been recognized as Rising Star Chef of the Year for her tapas restaurant Củrate. Elliot Moss at Asheville’s The Admiral also picks up a nomination for Best Chef in the Southeast and, along with Christensen and Howell, will be competing with fellow North Carolina residents Vivian Howard for Chef & the Farmer in Kinston and Aaron Vandemark for Hillsborough’s Panciuto.