February 17, 2011

Maine chefs, restaurants are Beard semifinalists

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Several Maine chefs and restaurants made the list of semifinalists for the 2011 James Beard Awards, announced today in New York City.

The awards, the most prestigious in the culinary industry, cover 19 categories from Best Chef to Best New Restaurant.

Shepherd's Pie in Rockport, known for dishes such as fried clam tacos (and yes they have shepherd's pie), is nominated for Best New Restaurant. The restaurant is the newest venture of Chef Brian Hill, who is also nominated in the Best Chef: Northeast category.

Sam Hayward of Fore Street in Portland and Melissa Kelly of Primo in Rockland are both nominated for Outstanding Chef this year. And Fore Street is nominated in the Outstanding Restaurant category.

Several Maine chefs made the semifinals in the Best Chef: Northeast category, which was won by the chefs from Arrows in Ogunquit last year.

Kirsta Kern Desjarlais is on the semifinalist list again for her work at her Portland restaurant Bresca. Other semifinalists are Brian Hill for his work at Francine Bistro in Camden; Megan Chase, Penelle Chase, Phoebe Chase and Ted LaFage of Chase's Daily in Belfast; and Demos Regas of Emilitsa in Portland.

The semifinalists will be whittled down to five nominees in each category by an independent, volunteer panel of 550 judges across the country. The list of finalists will be announced March 21, and the awards will be presented May 9 at the Lincoln Center in New York.


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