Once again, D.C. restaurants have a strong presence on the James Beard Award semifinalist list. But it's still too early to say if any will take home the prestigious prize: The Beard Foundation likes to winnow down its large and comprehensive list of excellent restaurants around the country to a smaller list of finalists (announced March 24), and then winners, which will be presented in New York on May 4.
If you look back at last year's semifinalists, much of what follows are the same people and restaurants being nominated in the same categories. Marjorie Meek-Bradley has nabbed her second rising star chef nomination, and Jaleo is once again on the outstanding restaurant list. Both Komi and Marcel's snagged repeat nominations for their service, and Ashok Bajaj was recognized again as an outstanding restaurateur. All four of the best chef nominees are on the list for the second time in a row.
But there are some newcomers, too -- most notably, baker Mark Furstenberg of Bread Furst in Northwest. Toki Underground's Erik Bruner-Yang has also been recognized as a rising star, and the elegant Fiola Mare is in the running for best new restaurant in the country. Check out the nominees below.
Best New Restaurant:
Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst
Outstanding Bar Program:
Outstanding Pastry Chef:
Caitlin Dysart, 2941
Ashok Bajaj, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group