The semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards were recently released and among the list of potential honorees is a strong contingent of Kansas City chefs and restaurants.
Michael Smith is among the 20 contenders for Outstanding Chef (a category that includes heavyweights like Tom Colicchio of Craft in New York City, Suzanne Goin of Lucques and Mark Peel of Campanile in Los Angeles). The American Restaurant is one of the 20 restaurant semifinalists in the category of outstanding restaurant.
Chefs are also recognized by region, and in the Midwest, Colby Garrelts of Bluestem and Linda Duerr of Zest have been named semifinalists. (Two chefs in St. Louis are also up for the Best Chef: Midwest, Gerard Craft of Niche and Josh Galliano of Monarch.)
The James Beard Foundation was created in honor of James Beard -- the
late cookbook author and teacher -- to cultivate and preserve
American cuisine. In addition to the annual awards, the foundation runs
the historic James Beard House, where Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. was invited to cook last month. The organization also maintains an active Twitter feed with some involved but inspiring recipes.
The foundation annually recognizes restaurants, restaurateurs,
pastry chefs, sommeliers and chefs by region, cookbook authors and media professionals who cover the
restaurant industry and food sector. Finalists for the awards will
be announced on March 22, based on votes from a panel of
regional food writers, industry professionals and past winners. The
2010 winners will be announced at a ceremony in New York City on May