City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

James Beard Foundation Awards 2009 Semifinalists

Atlanta gets all kind of McLovin’ from the James Beard Foundation today. From the nods for best chef and restaurateur nationally to the expected Southeastern chef awards, our city looks like more of a player this year than in awards seasons past.

The semifinalists comprise 20 nominees in each of 19 categories from more than 15,000 entries. The James Beard Awards are the most hyped and among the most prestigious prizes given to American chefs and restaurateurs. (The foundation also grants awards to cookbooks, restaurant designers and media, but these do not have a semifinalist stage in the process.)

And here’s where the full disclosure comes: I am one of the 400-some judges, so my vote had some bearing on the results announced today. 

I can also say that in years past, this list was called merely “the second round of voting” and wasn’t promoted. But lately the list has gotten out and morphed into this pre-pre-award. The five finalists will be announced on March 23, and the winners at a gala awards ceremony on May 4. 

Without further ado, raise a glass of champagne or Belgian ale to these semifinalists:

Outstanding Restaurateur: Pano Karatassos, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group

Outstanding Chef (National): Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur and Anne Quatrano, Bacchanalia

Outstanding Restaurant: Bacchanalia

Best New Restaurant: Holeman and Finch Public House

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Kevin Gillespie, Woodfire Grill

Outstanding Pastry Chef: Aaron Russell, The Chocolate Bar, Decatur

Outstanding Service: The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead

Best Chef, Southeast: Hugh Acheson, Five and Ten, Athens; Arnaud Berthelier, The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead; Linton Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene; Hector Santiago, Pura Vida.

6 comments Add your comment

[...] Claims Two James Beard Nominees 13 02 2009 The AJC’s John Kessler posted the Atlanta-area finalists for this year’s James Beard awards and two work their magic right [...]


February 13th, 2009
4:14 pm

Congrats to the nominees!

It is awesome to see Kevin from Woodfire on there!


February 13th, 2009
5:06 pm

Has Kevin done a lot to change the menu at Woodfire?

Cameron Smith

February 14th, 2009
1:44 pm

Props to Holeman and Finch!!!!!

Mr. Hong

February 14th, 2009
3:52 pm

Y’all who stick in Atlanta are missing a good experience at Five & Ten in Athens. The place won’t get a nomination for best service (though the best of their staff are very professional) but the food, my my my. Hugh Acheson came here from Canada (he was recently naturalized a U.S. citizen if I remember correctly) but quickly figured out that what makes a restaurant good in these parts–seasonal menu, local producers, regional style–is also what makes for enthusiastic and faithful customers.

ShortWoman» Blog Archive » Well Done?

November 21st, 2009
3:07 pm

[...] own notable restaurants in their hometowns or are working with chefs every foodie has heard of. One has his very own James Beard award already (and frankly, a nice beard to go with it). So you would think this isn’t a big deal to them [...]