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James Beard award nominations announced

Posted by: Rick Nelson under Restaurant news Updated: March 18, 2014 - 2:21 PM

The James Beard Foundation has announced nominees for its 2014 awards.

The Twin Cities boast three nominees in the Best Chef: Midwest category:

Paul Berglund of the Bachelor Farmer,

Michelle Gayer of the Salty Tart

and Lenny Russo of Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market.

It's a first nomination for Berglund, and the fourth for both Gayer (nominated twice in Outstanding Pastry Chef, and twice in Best Chef: Midwest) and Russo. The last time a Twin Cities chef won the award was in 2011, when Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery heard his name called out in Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

The Best Chef: Midwest award honors outstanding chefs in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. Other nominees are Justin Aprahamian of Sanford in Milwaukee, Gerard Craft of Niche in St. Louis and Kevin Nashan of the Sidney Street Cafe in St. Louis.

Amy Thielen is up for two awards, in the TV Program Studio/Fixed Location category for her Food Network show, Heartland Table, and for her "The New Midwestern Table" cookbook in the American Cooking cookbook category. Thielen resides near Park Rapids, Minn., and is a 2011 Beard winner for a series of stories published in Taste.

The Splendid Table -- and its host Lynne Rossetto Kasper and producers Sally Swift and Jennifer Russell -- is nominated in the Radio Show and Audio Broadcast category; the show is a 1998 and 2008 winner. And The Perennial Plate producers Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine are included in the Video Webcast on Location category. Klein and Fine won the award last year.

Golden Valley native Cindy Pawlcyn, owner of Mustards Grill and Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena, Calif., was nominated in the Outstanding Restaurateur category.

It's a strong year for women. Pawlcyn is one of three women nominated in her category of five. Two of the five nominees in Rising Star Chef of the Year, two of six in Outstanding Chef and four of five in Outstanding Pastry Chef are women. Still, the numbers drop considerably when tallying the nominees in the 10 regional Best Chef categories (the Beards divide the country into 10 regions, including Midwest). Of the 52 chefs honored in 10 categories, 10 are women.

Find the full list of nominees here.

The foundation, founded in 1986 and named for cookbook author and teacher James Beard (born 1903, died 1985), works to "celebrate, preserve, and nurture America's culinary heritage and diversity." The Beard awards began in 1990 and are frequently shorthanded to the “Oscars of the food world.” Judges include past chef winners, along with industry professionals.

Winners in the journalism and cookbook categories will be announced at a dinner at Gotham Hall in New York City on May 2. Winners in the restaurant, chef and design categories will be announced at a gala event at the David H. Koch Theater in New York City’s Lincoln Center on May 5.

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