Eight area chefs nominated in James Beard Foundation semi-finals

Eight chefs from South Carolina are semifinalists in the 2009 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award. Those eight are all from Charleston and the names are quite familiar.

Best New Restaurant (semifinalist):
Trattoria Lucca, Charleston, SC

Rising Star Chef of the Year (semifinalist):
Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, SC
Aaron Deal, Tristan, Charleston, SC

Best Chef: Southeast (semifinalist):
Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, SC
Mike Lata, Fig, Charleston, SC
Ken Vedrinski, Sienna, Daniel Island, SC
Bob Waggoner, Charleston Grill, Charleston, SC

You can get the full list of semi-finalists here, but Hugging the Coast has done a good job of breaking them down by state.

The finalists are to be announced on March 23, and the winners on May 4.

Last year, Robert Stehling of Hominy Grill won for best Southeast Chef.

What is the foundation? Here's a bit from Wikipedia:
The James Beard Foundation is a New York-based national professional non-profit organization named in honor of James Beard that serves to promote the culinary arts by honoring chefs, wine professionals, journalists, and cookbook authors at annual award ceremonies and providing scholarships and educational opportunities to cooking hopefuls.

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