The James Beard Award Foundation announced the finalists this morning for the annual awards, which will be held in Chicago on May 4. Chicago restaurants and chefs did pretty well across the board, and there are no real surprises, just reminders like: Parachute, which was nominated for Best New Restaurant, is awesome and you should go there if you haven't yet.
Chicago people and places were finalists in 10 other categories, such as the Violet Hour, which was nominated for Outstanding Bar Program, and Blackbird's Dana Cree, who was nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
In other awards, Donnie Madia and One Off Hospitality (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican and others) were nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur and Boarding House's Tanya Baker is a finalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Topolobampo was nominated for Outstanding Service.
Chicago almost swept the Best Chef: Great Lakes category, with Curtis Duffy (Grace), Paul Virant (Vie), Erling Wu-Bower (Nico Osteria) and Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia) nominated along with Jonathon Sawyer (the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland).
In the design category, James Gorski and Tom Nahabedian of Bureau of Architecture and Design are finalists for the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2012, for restaurants 75 seats and under for Brindille.
In addition, Richard Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises will be taking home a lifetime achievement award.
The winners will be announced May 4 at a ceremony at the Lyric Opera House.