"I think somebody just likes me to come to New York and spend all my money," Garrelts said. "But seriously, it's satisfying and nice to be recognized, and I'm just hopeful that the fifth time is the charm."
It's been a big year for Garrelts, with the release of Bluestem: the Cookbook and his consulting work (along with wife and pastry chef Megan Garrelts) at Trezo Vino in Leawood.
"I'm hoping that [the book] might be the catalyst that really sends it over the top because you either have to work for an established restaurant or have a name that people recognize," Garrelts says.
He and Habiger are competing with four chefs from St. Louis: Monarch's Josh Galliano, Sidney Street Cafe's Kevin Nashan, Farmhaus' Kevin Willman and Niche's Gerard Craft.
"I wish there were more Kansas City chefs on there. I wish it was a ballot full of us." Garrelts says. "I just hope that Ted and I get to go to New York."
This year, there are four new categories for the James Beard Awards: best bar program, food coverage in a general interest publication, food coverage in a food-focused publication, and visual storytelling. The finalists for the award will be announced March 9, the same date that the nominees for journalism and book categories are named.