Known as the Academy Awards of the restaurant industry, the James Beard Foundation Awards honors the finest chefs, restaurants, journalists, cookbook authors, restaurant designers, and electronic media professionals in the country. On Monday they announced their official list of nominees for this year's awards, which will be presented on May 4, 2009 in New York City.
There is a special category specifically for "Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)," and contenders for this year's award included Luciano Del Signore of Bacco Ristorante in Southfield, John Somerville of the Lark in West Bloomfield, and Brian Polcyn of Five Lakes Grill in Milford. The only contender to make the short list of nominees from Michigan, however, was Alex Young of Zingerman's Roadhouse.
I'll update you with the award winners' information as soon as the winners are announced. In the meantime, congratulations to all of the contenders and best of luck to Alex Young. It would be great to see another Michigan chef take home this honor. (Presently, Jimmy Schmidt of the Rattlesnake Club is the only Michigan title-holder of a JBF award, and that was in 1993.)