The James Beard Foundation today announced the finalists for its 2016 Restaurant and Chef Awards, and based on sheer number, the Washington area had a better showing than last year.
After being shut out in 2015, D.C.-area chefs nabbed two of the six finalist slots in the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category: Peter Chang (Peter Chang) and Aaron Silverman (Rose's Luxury). Baltimore chef Cindy Wolf (Charleston) also is among the nominees. Rounding out the competition is a trio of chefs from Philadelphia: Eli Kulp (Fork), Rich Landau (Vedge) and Greg Vernick (Vernick Food & Drink).
On the national level, Mark Furstenberg of Bread Furst made it into the shortlist for Outstanding Baker. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery was also a finalist, for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. The Outstanding Restaurateur category featured two nominees with locations in the District: Michael Mina (Bourbon Steak) and Stephen Starr (Le Diplomate).
Local-boy-made-good David Chang received a nomination for Outstanding Restaurant for his Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York. (A D.C. location of Momofuku opened in CityCenterDC last year.)
Also of interest in Washington: chef, cookbook author and culinary educator Patricia Jinich earned two nods in the broadcast category for her public television series, "Pati's Mexican Table": Television program (fixed location) and outstanding personality/host. Washingtonian food critic Todd Kliman received a nomination for his column. And The Post's Tom Sietsema earned a nomination in the James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards for his year-long package on the best food cities in America.
The finalists were whittled down from a long list of semifinalists, announced last month. You can check out the entire rundown on the James Beard Foundation site. The winners will be honored at a gala May 2 in Chicago hosted by Carla Hall.