The awards are often referred to as "The Oscars of Food," and the Triangle has a legacy of taking home honors.
Ashley Christensen of Poole's Downtown Diner and several other Raleigh restaurants is a finalist for Best Chef in the Southeast. This is the second year she has been named a finalist. She is up against four other chefs: Kathy Cary of Lilly's and Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia, both in Louisville, Ky. Steven Satterfield of Miller Union in Atlanta and Tandy Wilson of City House in Nashville. This is the second year she has been named a finalist.
Katie Button, chef at Curate in Asheville, has been named a finalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. The award is given to a chef 30 years or younger, who "displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come." She is up against Chicago's Jimmy Bannos Jr. of The Purple Pig and David Posey of Blackbird, Jessica Largey of Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif. and Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island in Washington.
Kinston's own Vivian Howard, co-owner of the Chef and the Farmer, is also up for a James Beard Award. Her PBS show "A Chef's Life" has been nominated in the TV category. The documentary series focuses on eastern North Carolina cuisine and where it comes from.
The winners will be announced during a gala at Lincoln Center in New York City on May 5.