What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Three Triangle chefs tapped for Beard awards

Posted February 22, 2012

Chef Ashley Christensen (Photo by Victor Chavez)

Three chefs at Triangle restaurants (and one from Kinston) are semifinalists in the Best Chef in the Southeast category in the annual James Beard Foundation Awards. The awards are often referred to as "The Oscars of Food," and the Triangle has a legacy of taking home honors.

This year, chefs Ashley Christensen, of Poole’s in Raleigh, Scott Howell, of Nana’s in Durham, and Aaron Vandemark, of Panciuto in Hillsborough, made the list, along with Vivian Howard, of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston.

Durham's Magnolia Grill will be matched up with eateries from dining destination cities like New York City, San Francisco and New Orleans in the Outstanding Restaurant category, and Sean Lilly Wilson, of Durham's Fullsteam Brewery, is a semifinalist in the Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional.


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  • melanie3 Feb 24, 2012

    Nana's has become a bit ho-hum, they hit a certain level and they've just kind of plateaued. It's okay but go once or twice and it's all repeat. We had a nice experience of food at Poole's but if I'm going out for dinner I want to know I can get in, not wait for hours because there are no reservations. There are so many good restaurants in the triangle - Vino's in Morrisville is yummy! Kitchen in Chapel Hill. Going out for a nice meal isn't hard. St Jacques is lovely. Love Glenwood Grill. There are so many places, get out of your own backyard and try some. Must admit, I've not gone to Hillsborough and I've looked at the place in Kinston but that's a hike. We're quite lucky in this area -

  • Moriahe Feb 23, 2012

    I'm not saying Raleigh is bad -by any stretch- I'm just saying Durham is better. And with the silliness Raleigh government has foisted on its subjects with their anti-Food Truck agenda, it only hurts the city.

  • davidgnews Feb 22, 2012

    "This area is a hidden gem when it comes to food. Maybe not Raleigh so much, "

    Do you just not get out of that area, or are you just jaded a little?

    I dare you to try St. Jacques in Raleigh and NOT like it.

  • dwntwnboy Feb 22, 2012

    "Maybe not Raleigh so much"- you don't get out much then. There are FANTASTIC places in Raleigh to eat- many that won't break the bank in the process. Battistella's alone is a crown jewel in downtown. Not saying the other towns in the area don't have their fair share of tasty places, but to say Raleigh doesn't shows you just haven't been out enough to realize what you are missing.

  • Moriahe Feb 22, 2012

    This area is a hidden gem when it comes to food. Maybe not Raleigh so much, but places in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough for sure.

  • Mon Account Feb 22, 2012

    Nana's has FANTASTIC food, but my 2 visits to Poole's were disappointing. I'm surprised she is up again for the award.