James Beard Awards finalists announced


The field has further narrowed, and we have two Twin Cities chefs among the final contenders for the James Beard Awards' Best Chef Midwest. Drumroll, please........:


That would be Isaac Becker, chef/co-owner of 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa and Lenny Russo, chef/co-owner of Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market in St. Paul. Both are prior nominees and hope to earn the title recently bestowed on two local colleagues, Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma in 2010 and Tim McKee of La Belle Vie in 2009. They're competing against Colby Garrelts of Bluestem in Kansas City, Mo., Tory Miller of L'Etoile in Madison, and Justin Aprahamian, of Sanford in Milwaukee.

Winners will be announced at the annual JBF gala in New York City on May 9th.

We also picked up some local nominations in the journalism category: Amy Thielen, who contributed a "Cooking with recipes" piece to the Star Tribune, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl of Minnesota Monthly had her reviews nominated in the "Craig Claiborne" category, and Andrew Zimmern had his "Bizarre Foods" show nominated in the "Multimedia food feature" category, and in the "Television program, on location" category." Winners will be announced in New York City on May 6th.

Congratulations to all!!