A new French bistro, the chef-owner of a tiny Italian restaurant, a chef of gourmet Greek food, and two innovative Thai restauranteurs have all been selected as semifinalists for the national James Beard awards. And that’s just in Portland.
This year Maine, and in particular Portland, did well in the first round of James Beard nominations. Often referred to as the Oscars of the restaurant industry, the James Beard awards annually recognizes deliciousness in the culinary arts.
Petite Jacqueline in Portland’s Longfellow Square, owned by Steve and Michelle Corry, was nominated for Best New Restaurant, competing with restaurants in Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, according to the Portland Press Herald. Fore Street, in Portland, is a semifinalist in the Outstanding Restaurant category.
The Portland chefs named as semifinalists in the Best Chef: Northeast category include Krista Kern Desjarlais, chef/owner of Bresca; Demos Regas of Emilitsa; and Danai Sriprasert and Nattasak Wongsaichua of Boda.
Elsewhere in Maine, Brian Hill of Francine Bistro in Camden, and Ted LaFage, Pennelle, Megan and Phoebe Chase of Chase’s Daily in Belfast were also nominated in Best Chef: Northeast category.
Melissa Kelly, chef/co-owner of Primo in Rockland, was named a semifinalist for Outstanding Chef. “She’ll be up against such star chefs as David Chang of Momofuku in New York City and Charles Phan of The Slanted Door in San Francisco,” according to the Press Herald.