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Chicago nominees vie for James Beard Foundation 2014 Awards

The James Beard Foundation, the premier North American culinary organization, this past March announced finalists for its prestigious Award categories during a press brunch hosted by One Off Hospitality Group at The Publican Restaurant, 837 W. Fulton Market in Chicago. A momentous occasion featuring a welcome from Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and accented with delicious cuisine from The Publican’s kitchen (see photos at the side and read more about The Publican below).

James Beard Foundation celebrates culinary stars
James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. The final award winners will be announced in New York on May 5, 2014. Categories of nominees include best chefs, best food writing, classics restaurants, and more.

For your further edification – and ideas where to go for dinner tomorrow – finalists for the Midwest area included all the following. Notice the healthy dose of Chicago competitors.

Best Chef: Great Lakes
Dave Beran, Next, Chicago
Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago
Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
Paul Virant, Vie Restaurant, Western Springs, IL
Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia, Chicago

Best Chef: Midwest
Justin Aprahamian, Sanford, Milwaukee
Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
Gerard Craft, Niche, Clayton, MO
Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis
Kevin Nashan, Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis
Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul, MN

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig, Chicago
Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC
Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos
David Posey, Blackbird, Chicago
Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, WA

Also, Chicago’s own Stephanie Izard, chef/owner of her own two places and herself a JBF Best Chef: Great Lakes winner for her Girl and the Goat restaurant, was selected as one of the chefs to cook for the glamorous reception following the Foundation awards ceremony in New York on Monday, May 5. You go, Chef Stephanie!

More about The Publican: Prominently featuring beer, pork and oysters, The Publican's eclectic menu evokes simple farmhouse fare served in booths and at giant long tables that put you in mind of a European beer hall. Executive Chef Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Brian Huston personally select sustainably raised fish, seafood and pork for the menu’s rustic dishes. There’s a full bar with a large selections of whiskies plus an international beer list that includes 100 ales, lagers, stouts and ciders. Tip: Come for weekend brunch and get a platter of their delicious mixed breakfast meats.