The 2014 James Beard Foundation Award nominations were announced today, and Des Moines was well represented. The JBF Awards are like the restaurant industry's version of the Grammy Awards, and three Des Moines chefs received nods this year, George Formaro, Phil Shires, and Sean Wilson.
Chef George Formaro was nominated in the "Outstanding Restaurateur" category for the second year in a row. Formaro is the force behind some of Des Moines' most popular dining spots, including Django, Centro, Zombie Burger, Gateway Market & Cafe, and South Union Bread Café. Formaro isn't done yet, either. His has a new restaurant named Malo (and a culinary school) due to open this spring in the new home of the Des Moines Social Club downtown.
Chef Phil Shires and Chef Sean Wilson are both nominated in the "Best Chef: Midwest" category. Shires has been well-respected everywhere he has been, La Mie, Host, and of course, his current spot, Cafe di Scala. Wilson has also met with critical acclaim during his travels. Whether it has been at Azalea, The Kirkwood Lounge, or his current restaurant, Proof, Chef Wilson has always stood out. Wilson was nominated in the same category in 2013, as well.
Congratulations to all three chefs on very well-deserved recognition. Also, congratulations to one other Iowa establishment that was nominated today, Archie's Waeside in Le Mars, Iowa. Archie's was nominated in the "Outstanding Wine Program" category. The 2014 James Beard Awards will be held in New York City on May 2 and May 5.