James Beard names finalists, Minnesotans among them

A handful of Minnesotans made the exclusive short list of 2010 James Beard Foundation Award finalists. Particularly mad congrats to Michelle Gayer, who is a finalist in the "Outstanding Pastry Chef" category, the first local to be a named finalist in a national restaurant/chef category the Strib says. Equally impressive: Three of the five finalists for Best Chef: Midwest are from the Twin Cities.

Here's a breakdown of the badass culinary superstars in our midst:

  • As mentioned, Michelle Gayer of The Salty Tart is a finalist in the "Outstanding Pastry Chef" category.
  • Alex Roberts of Alma, Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa, and Lenny Russo of Heartland are three of the five finalists in the "Best Chef: Midwest" category.
  • Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is a finalist in two categories: "Writing on Spirits, Wine or Beer" and "Food-Related Columns."
  • Andrew Zimmern is a finalist in the "TV Food Personality" category.
  • The Splendid Table is a finalist in the "Audio Webcast/Radio Show" category.
  • Wayne Kostroski, co-owner of Bar Abilene and Franklin Street Bakery, was named "Humanitarian of the Year" by the foundation for his work with the organization "Taste of the NFL."

Winners will be announced in early May. The James Beard Foundation website has a full list of nominees.

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