Oh boy, oh boy. The list of 2010 James Beard award semifinalists is out this morning, and Chicago, as usual, represents.
(Note the word "semifinalists." You might remember that the Beard Foundation started announcing the semifinalists last year to head off any leaks; the previous year, a blogger got hold of the list of potential finalists and put it out for the world to see. The finalists won't be announced until March 22.)
Anyway, here are the Chicago contenders:
Rich Melman and Donnie Madia for Outstanding Restaurateur
Jean Joho and Paul Kahan for Outstanding Chef
Les Nomades and Spiaggia for Outstanding Restaurant
Josh Adams for Rising Star Chef (Adams, you might recall, recently cooked at the Beard House; that has to be a good sign, right?)
Cibo Matto and Pelago - two hotel restaurants - really! -- for Best New Restaurant
Mindy Segal for Outstanding Pastry Chef
Alinea, NoMI for Oustanding Wine Service
Brian Duncan of BIN36 and Alpana Singh of Lettuce for Oustanding Wine and Spirits Professional
Alinea, Carlos' and Spiaggia for Outstanding Service
For Best Chef: Great Lakes - Michael Carslon, Curtis Duffy, Koren Grieveson, Bill Kim, Chris Nugent, Arun Sampanthavivat, Bruce Sherman, Giuseppe Tentori and Paul Virant
Whew. The awards are in May in New York City.