26th Annual James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists


The James Beard Foundation announced its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 26th annual James Beard Foundation Awards and we couldn’t be more proud about all of the Indiana nominees! These nominees were selected from a list of more than 20,000 online entries and the prestigious group of semifinalists in 21 categories represent a wide range of culinary talent from exceptional chefs to wine and spirits professionals to restauranteurs.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that inspire and educate.

The final nominees for all award categories will be announced on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 during a press conference in San Francisco, California. You can keep up with the results live via the Foundation’s Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/beardfoundation. On May 2, the winners will be announced at the Beard Awards gala in Chicago.

ZESCO is proud to be associated with the following semifinalists…

Greg Hardesty – This is the Chef and Owner of Recess’s fifth time making the semifinalist list for Best Chef: Great Lakes Region. The Best Chef category is divided into 10 regions and is for chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region.

Alan Sternberg – The Executive Chef at Cerulean has been nominated as a semifinalist in the Rising Star Chef of the Year category. This category is for chefs 30 years or younger who display impressive talent likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Abbi Merriss – Another semifinalist in the Best Chef: Great Lakes Region is Abbi Merris of Bluebeard. Merriss was a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category in 2013 as well.

Jonathan Brooks – The Chef and Owner of Milktooth is a semifinalist on the Best Chef: Great Lakes Region. In August of 2015, Brooks “took over” the Beard House kitchen for a pop-up concept dinner along with other Indianapolis chefs.

Martha Hoover – The owner of Café Patachou, Public Greens, Napolese and Petite Chou was a semifinalist in 2013 and is again a semifinalist in the Outstanding Restaurateur category. This award is for a working restauranteur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years and cannot have won a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

We’ll be cheering for these Indy nominees and we can’t wait to see who will bring home an award!


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