Alabama restaurant, 5 chefs named James Beard Awards semifinalists

Ian Wortham is chef de cuisine at Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder

The list of semifinalists for the prestigious James Beard Awards has been announced.

This year, the James Beard Foundation has nominated the Italian restaurant for the Outstanding Restaurant award; it shares the category with nineteen other establishments around the country. Kris Komori, chef de cuisine at State and Lemp in Boise, joins chef Laurent Zirotti, of Fleu de Sel in Post Falls, in the running for Best Chef: Northwest. My team and I at Alter just keep our heads down and keep cooking. Though this is the first time the farm-to-table restaurant has been nominated for its excellence in hospitality, it's certainly no stranger to being in the spotlight.

Watch as Alba chef Joe Tripp, who has been named a 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist for the Midwest region, prepares a tasting menu for customers at the East Village eatery in Des Moines. She was not familiar with James Beard Foundation, which oversees what many consider the Oscars of the food world, and who had to be told why this was a pretty big deal. Regionally, Dogfish Head Craft Brewer's owner Sam Calagione was honored for outstanding wine, beer, or spirits professional; Chesapeake & Maine in Rehoboth Beach was honored for outstanding bar program; and Washington D.C. netted 21 Beard semi-finalist nominations. The list will now go to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges across the country - including restaurant critics, food editors and past winners - who will narrow it down to five finalists in each category.

On Wednesday, March 15, the Foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories during a press conference at a.o.c. restaurant in Los Angeles, California. Miller was up for an award in the overall "Outstanding Chef" category past year, but didn't make it into the final five.

Charleen Badman of FnB restaurant in Scottsdale earned her fourth semifinal nomination this year.

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