Local Chefs, Restaurants Named James Beard Semifinalists

A long list of leaders from the local culinary community have been named semifinalists for the annual James Beard Awards-including seven Twin Cities chefs in the "best chef in the Midwest" category.

More than a dozen Twin Cities restaurants and chefs have been named semifinalists in this year's prestigious James Beard Awards.

Seven local chefs were named semifinalists in the best chef in the Midwest category-representing a third of the nominees vying for that award. They include:

  • Mike Brown and James Winberg, Travail Kitchen and Amusements, Robbinsdale
  • Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis
  • Doug Flicker, Piccolo, Minneapolis
  • Russell Klein, Meritage, St. Paul
  • Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul
  • Stewart Woodman, Heidi's, Minneapolis


The other semifinalists who hail from Minnesota, and their respective categories, are:

  • Best New Restaurant: The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
  • Outstanding Bar Program: La Belle Vie, Minneapolis
  • Outstanding Chef: Tim McKee, La Belle Vie, Minneapolis
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef: Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart Bakery, Minneapolis
  • Outstanding Restaurant: Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis
  • Outstanding Restaurateur: Richard D'Amico and Larry D'Amico, D'Amico & Partners, Minneapolis
  • Outstanding Service: Manny's Steakhouse, Minneapolis
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Sameh Wadi, Saffron Restaurant & Lounge, Minneapolis

The full list of semifinalists can be accessed here.

The pool of semifinalists will be narrowed based on votes by past award winners and a subcommittee. On March 19, the James Beard Foundation will announce the list of five final “nominees” in the restaurant and chef categories, as well as the nominees for its book, journalism, restaurant graphics and design, and broadcast and new media awards.

The final award ceremony will take place May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York.

Last year, Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa, both Minneapolis restaurants, was named the best chef in the Midwest by the James Beard Foundation.