Health Care

Asheville chefs among James Beard semifinalists

Ian Wortham is chef de cuisine at Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder

Considered the "Oscars of food", the James Beard Foundation awards, now in its 27th year, are considered one of the highest honors in the culinary world. "It's so different from the chef awards because it's so much of everything that everyone does there to make that restaurant what it is".

It's the first nomination for the longtime South Jersey sushi destination. She stood on the podium with her husband in 2013, when Colby Garrelts won Best Chef: Midwest for his excellence at Bluestem, the couple's flagship fine-dining restaurant in Westport. "It means a lot for that restaurant and who we are and what we've been doing for the last 40-plus years". Fox has been named a semifinalist in the category every year since 2008.

In May, the James Beard Foundation hosts their award ceremony, giving awards to restaurants and chefs in both national and regional categories.

The Beard awards recognize food and beverage stars in 21 categories, such as best restaurants, chefs, bars, rising star chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers.

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Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia.

The semifinalists were selected from among some 24,000 entries. Qualifiers must have spent the last five years as a chef, three of which working in the region for which they are nominated. Winners of the organization's media awards will be announced April 25th in New York City.

Also recognized as a semifinalist in this category past year, Bluestem received a major renovation in 2014.It continues to receive kudos as "a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service", with executive chef Andrew Longres recently promoted to run the kitchen.

As is tradition, the foundation announces the semifinalists in advance of the final nominees, which will be made public on March 15.