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N.C. chefs named semifinalists for James Beard Awards

Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro, N.C. is nominated for Outstanding Restaurant
Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro, N.C. is nominated for Outstanding Restaurant
Fearrington House Restaurant

N.C. chefs received the honor on Wednesday, Feb.19 as named as a semifinalist in the Best Chef: Southeast category for the 2014 James Beard Awards. And just like the Oscars, it's truly an honor to be nominated for this prestigious culinary award.

The Fearrington House Restaurant, located in Pittsboro, N.C. is also nominated as a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant along with 19 other U.S. restaurants.

The five-star restaurant, under the culinary leadership of Colin Bedford, is the only N.C. restaurant to receive the honor. Bedford is also one of eight chefs in N.C. to be nominated for the best chef award for the Southeast division.

Fearrington's General Manager, Theresa Chiettini, announced the news on the hotel's Instagram account, "Thrilled that our own @chefbedford is a semi finalist for the @beardfoundation Best Chef Southeast nominations! Congrats Chef!! I'm also thrilled as well that the Fearrington House Restaurant is also a semi-finalist for the Outstanding Restaurant category. So proud of our team!"

Eight out of 20 chef nominees in the Southeast category are from N.C.

Colin Bedford, The Fearrington House Restaurant, Pittsboro, NC
Ashley Christensen, Poole's Downtown Diner, Raleigh, NC
Scott Crawford, Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary, NC
Vivian Howard, Chef & the Farmer, Kinston, NC
Scott Howell, Nana's, Durham, NC
Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani, Asheville, NC
Matt Kelly, Mateo, Durham, NC
Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC

Katie Button, chef at Cúrate in Asheville, N.C. is nominated for the national Rising Star Chef of the Year and Phoebe Lawless, pastry chef at Scratch in Durham, NC is in the running for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Both chefs are competing with chefs on a national level.

A complete list of James Beard Award semifinalist nominees are listed here.

According to the James Beard Foundation, the process for nominations began in October through an open call process. After receiving close to 40,000 submissions, the Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee, composed of critics, writers, and editors, went to work and created the list of semifinalists, culled from the open call, for each award.

The semifinalist list will now move on to a voting body of former Beard Award winners; Restaurant and Chef Award Committee members; and other regional panelists. After these judges cast their votes, the five semifinalists with the highest number of votes in each category become the nominees and those names will be announced in mid-March.

The James Beard Awards will be awarded in New York City in May.