ME chefs, restaurants nominated for coveted James Beard Awards

James Beard Awards Portland Restaurants Shine As Semi Finalists Announced

Fleer is a four-time James Beard Award finalist, and has been nominated multiple times.

It's when the annual James Beard Awards announce semifinalists, calling attention to the country's best chefs, food writers and educators.

Meanwhile, the James Beard Foundation once again honored Scott Anderson of Princeton's Elements, Joey Baldino of Collingswood's Zeppoli and Dan Richer of Jersey City's Razza Pizza Artigianale of Jersey City with nominations for best chef Mid-Atlantic. "I was kind of in a haze this morning when texts just starting pouring in". Richer earned his first nod in that category last year, but Anderson and Baldino had been nominated for five years in a row. Another familiar Arizona name is Sam Fox, who has been nominated for "Outstanding Restaurateur".

Today, the committee for the esteemed dining award announced its semifinalists.

The Oscars of the food world, the James Beard Awards were established in 1990 to recognize leaders in the American culinary industry. Regionally, Dogfish Head Craft Brewer's owner Sam Calagione was honored for outstanding wine, beer, or spirits professional; Chesapeake & Maine in Rehoboth Beach was honored for outstanding bar program; and Washington D.C. netted 21 Beard semi-finalist nominations.

Irish Channel sandwich star Turkey & The Wolf is the only New Orleans restaurant named a semifinalist for the foundation's coveted Best New Restaurant award, a big feat for the casual newcomer led by Mason Hereford and Lauren Holton, whose whimsical sandwich creations have garnered widespread accolades from critics (including this one).

Tripp, who also qualified as a semifinalist in 2016, began his tenure at Alba after a stint at Fruition Restaurant in Denver.

This list will be narrowed down to a much shorter selection of award finalists that will be announced on Wednesday, March 15, in Los Angeles.