The James Beard Foundation announced nominees in its restaurant and chef awards categories -- along with nominees in book, journalism, design and broadcast categories -- this morning in Charleston, S.C.

Minneapolis is being represented at the Oscars of the food world with two nominees for Best Chef: Midwest: Jack Riebel, chef/co-owner of Butcher & the Boar, and Michelle Gayer, chef/owner of the Salty Tart.



It’s a first-time nomination for Riebel (pictured, above), who launched Butcher & the Boar in downtown Minneapolis in March 2012. Previously, Riebel had run the kitchen at the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant and at La Belle Vie in Stillwater.



While this is a first in Best Chef: Midwest category, Gayer (pictured, above, with daughters Isabelle and Ava), is no stranger to James Beard hoopla, having been nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2010 (for her Midtown Global Market bakery) and in 2002 (when she was pastry chef at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago).

For the purposes of its regional chef awards, the Beard Foundation divides the country into 10 regions, including the Midwest, which covers Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.

Not many pastry chefs have been nominated in a regional best chef category, but in 2013 there are two: Gayer, and Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston. Chang was also an Outstanding Pastry Chef nominee, in 2011 and 2012.

Others in the Best Chef: Midwest category include six-time nominee Colby Garrelts of Bluestem in Kansas City, Mo., two-time nominee Justin Aprahamian of Sanford in Milwaukee and three-time nominee Gerard Craft of Niche in St. Louis.

Previous Minnneapolis winners of Best Chef: Midwest are Tim McKee of La Belle Vie in 2009, Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma in 2010 and Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery in 2012.

Minnesota media also made the nominee roster. Mpls-St.Paul magazine writer (and five-time James Beard Award winner) Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is a nominee for the M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing award for her profile of cheesemaker Mary Falk.

Producers Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine of "The Perennial Plate: Real World Food Tour" were nominated in the Video Webcast, On Location category. The duo are based in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis-based "Bizarre Foods," produced by Andrew Zimmern and Colleen Needles for the Travel Channel, was nominated for Outstanding TV Program on Location. And Zimmern, a two-time Beard winner, was nominated in the Outstanding Food Personality/Host category.



A previously announced Minnesota winner: Kramarczuk's. The Northeast Minneapolis landmark has been named one of the foundation's "America's Classics," which are honored for their "timeless appeal and are beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community."

Winners in the journalism, book and broadcast awards will be announced at Gotham Hall in New York City on May 3, and winners in the restaurant, chef and design categories will be announced on May 6 at the foundation’s annual gala at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. (Full disclosure: I serve as a volunteer on a James Beard Foundation committee).

Find a complete list of nominees here.