North Carolina, and Durham especially, came away with a more than their share of semifinalists when the James Beard Foundation released its nominee list yesterday.
Durham boasts four nominees: Matt Kelly’s Mateo Tapas for Best New Restaurant; Sean Lilly Wilson of Fullsteam for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional (he was nominated in the category last year as well); Scratch Bakery’s Phoebe Lawless for Outstanding Pastry Chef; and, once again, Nana’s Scott Howell for Best Chef, Southeast.
Many of the semifinalists took to social media to react to their nominations, sending out excited tweets and Facebook posts:
@john_holl gosh, thank you. I can't believe I'm even in the mix. Ya know? You know. Cheers!
Other Durham food trucks and restaurants also offered their congratulations:
Three cheers (ok more like 20 cheers!!) for our friends Matt Kelly, Sean Lilly Wilson, Scott Howell and Phoebe Lawless!!!
“I was totally surprised by the announcement, and incredibly flattered," Phoebe told us. "It makes me proud of my staff and my town. Though it's the long list, I'm honored to see Scratch get national recognition from such a respected organization.”
James Beard finalists will be announced at a Charleston, S.C. press conference March 18, with the winner announcement coming May 6 at a gala in New York City. To see a list of all the semifinalist nominees, click here.
Congratulations to all the Triangle semifinalists, and an extra pat on the back to our amazing chefs and restaurants!