Regional chefs, restaurants in the running for honors.
The James Beard Foundation has released the names of semifinalists for various 2016 restaurant, chef and beverage awards, and again, a few local names appear on this list. Some are “the usual suspects.” Others are new for consideration to go on to the next step — the list of finalists — for these prestigious honors in the top categories. Semifinalists from Denver/Boulder again lead the Colorado nominees for what are called the Oscars of the culinary and restaurant realm:
- Outstanding Chef: Jennifer Jasinski, Denver
- Outstanding Restaurant: , Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder
- Best Chef, Southwest: Dana Rodriguez, Denver
- Best Chef Southwest, Alex Seidel, Denver
- Best Chef Southwest, Steve Redzikowski, Denver & Boulder
- Outstanding Restaurateur, Frank Bonanno, Denver
- Outstanding Wine Program, Element 47 in Aspen’s Little Nell Hotel
Also in the Mountain time zone, Eloisa of Santa Fe was nominated in the Best New Restaurant category. Chef John Rivera Sedlar, a Santa Fe native, named it in honor of his grandmother, Eloisa Rivera. Sedlar, along with Mark Miller and Stephan Pyles, wrote Tamales, one of my favorite Southwestern cookbooks. And up the road in Ranchos de Taos, Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal was nominated as Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional. And it was a good day to be a chef named Jennifer. In addition to Jasinski’s national nomination, Jennifer James of Jennifer James 101 in Albuquerque was nominated in the Best Chef Southwest category.