Raleigh, N.C. — Triangle restaurants and chefs are among the semifinalists 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, local chefs Ashley Christensen, of Poole’s, Beasley's Chicken and Honey and Chucks, all in downtown Raleigh, Scott Howell, of Nana’s in Durham, Aaron Vandemark, of Panciuto in Hillsborough, Scott Crawford of Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, were named semifinalists for the honor of Best Chef in the Southeast. Other North Carolina chefs also on the list were Vivian Howard, of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, and Elliot Moss of The Admiral in Asheville.
Phoebe Lawless of Scratch Bakery in Durham is a semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef, facing off against chefs from across the country.
Durham's Mateo Tapas is a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category against places in Chicago, Beverly Hills and New Orleans.
Chapel Hill's Lantern Restaurant, which is owned by previous James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast Winner Andrea Reusing, is up for Outstanding Restaurant in the country.
Outside of the Triangle, Katie Button of Curate in Asheville is competing for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award.
In the spirits categories, The Angus Barn in Raleigh was named a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Program. While Sean Lilly Wilson, of Durham's Fullsteam Brewery, and Eric Soloman of European Cellars in Charlotte are semifinalists for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional.
The James Beard Foundation Awards will be handed out during a gala at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center on May 6.