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Charleston earns 7 semifinal spots for James Beard awards

Hospitality and Tourism
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The James Beard Foundation announced the list of semifinalists for its 2017 restaurant and chef awards today, and Charleston garnered seven spots.

The national competition recognizes the culinary industry’s best chefs, bakers, restaurants, restaurateurs and wine, beer and spirits professionals in 21 categories. This year’s semifinalists were chosen from more than 24,000 entries, according to a news release.

Finalists will be announced March 15, and winners will be announced at the James Beard Foundation’s awards gala on May 1 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The complete list of semifinalists is posted online.

James Beard Foundation semifinalists from Charleston

Outstanding chef
Mike Lata, chef at Fig

Outstanding pastry chef
Cynthia Wong, pastry chef at Butcher & Bee

Outstanding restaurateur
David Howard, president and owner of Neighborhood Dining Group, which operates and manages Husk, McCrady’s, Minero and other restaurants

Outstanding wine program
Fig

Outstanding wine, beer or spirits professional
Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall, founders of High Wire Distilling Co.

Rising star chef of the year
Shuai Wang, chef at Short Grain

Best chef: Southeast
Kevin Johnson, executive chef and owner of The Grocery

Reach Ashley Heffernan at 843-849-3144.

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