What's on Tap

What's on Tap

NC chefs, restaurants named semi-finalists for 'Oscars of Food'

Posted February 15, 2018 10:57 a.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:48 p.m. EDT

— Several local chefs have been named semi-finalists for 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.

Raleigh's Ashley Christensen (Poole's, Death and Taxes, Beasley's, and Chucks) is a semi-finalist for outstanding chef in the country. Christensen, who was named the WRAL.com Voters' Choice Awards Woman of the Year last month, is a previous James Beard winner. The Raleigh chef took home the award for best chef in the southeast in 2014.

Downtown Raleigh's Brewery Bhavana, which has been racking up international honors, is a semi-finalist for best new restaurant in the country.

For the second year in a row, Gabe Barker of Pizzeria Mercato in Carrboro was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year.

David Bauer of Farm & Sparrow in Asheville was named a semi-finalist for outstanding baker.

Sean Lilly Wilson of Fullsteam in Durham and Leah Wong Ashburn of Asheville's Highland Brewing Co. were named semi-finalists for outstanding wine, beer or spirits professional.

North Carolina is also well-represented in the list of semi-finalists for best chef in the southeast. Among those on the list: ​

  • Vivian Howard of the Chef and the Farmer in Kinston
  • Cheetie Kumar of Garland in Raleigh
  • Katie Button of Nightbell in Asheville
  • Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani in Asheville
  • Sam Jones of Sam Jones BBQ in Winterville
  • Joe Kindred of Kindred in Davidson

Finalists will be named March 14. The winners will be announced during a gala at Lyric Opera of Chicago in New York City on May 7.