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Lowcountry chefs, restaurant make James Beard semifinalists list

Hospitality and Tourism
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By Ashley Heffernan
Published Feb. 18, 2016

Three chefs and one restaurant from the Lowcountry were named semifinalists for James Beard Awards, a national competition that recognizes the culinary industry’s best of the best.

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The James Beard Foundation released its 2016 semifinalists list on Wednesday. Final nominees will be announced on March 15, and the James Beard Awards Gala will be held May 2 in Chicago.

Charleston’s Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh and Kevin Johnson of The Grocery were both named semifinalists in the best chef Southeast class. Last year, Jason Stanhope, executive chef of Charleston-based Fig, won the award in that category.

Sean Brock was also again on the list in the outstanding chef category. Previously he has made the list for his work at McCrady’s, located at 2 Unity Alley in downtown Charleston. This year, though, he was named a semifinalist as the chef of Husk Nashville. In 2010, Brock won the best chef Southeast title.

The foundation says the winner of the outstanding chef award will go to “a working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals.” Last year, Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern in New York won that category’s top spot.

In the outstanding service category, Charleston Grill was named a semifinalist. There are 19 other restaurants vying for the award.

This year, more than 20,000 entries were received for 21 restaurant and chef award categories, the foundation said in a news release. An independent volunteer panel of restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators and past James Beard Award winners vote to determine nominees and winners.

Reach staff writer Ashley Heffernan at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyBHeff on Twitter.

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