Two St. Louis Chefs Are 2017 James Beard Finalists

James Beard Finalists

Second Year for St. Louis Chefs on James Beard Finalists List

St. Louis, MO/March 18, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) James Beard Finalists — St. Louis has a long history of great restaurants and inventive chefs.  There have been dozens of accolades and honors bestowed upon St. Louis’ restaurateurs, chefs, and innovators in recent years.  From AAA’s coveted four-diamonds rating (St. Louis establishments have 18), to National Restaurant Association’s “Restaurant Neighbor” awards (three in 2016), and the James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classics Award Gioia’s Deli received in January, St. Louis’ restaurant professionals have proven they’re national caliber.

For the second year in a row, two local chefs have been named as finalists for JBF’s Best Chef: Midwest award.  Executive Chef/Owner Kevin Nashan is the creative force behind Sidney Street Café, 2000 Sidney St. in Benton Park.  Executive Chef/Owner Kevin Willmann has made Farmhaus, 3257 Ivanhoe Ave. in Lindenwood Park a regional leader in farm-to-table, sustainable dining.

Three other St. Louis chefs had been named JBF semifinalists this year.  Chef Ashley Shelton of Pastaria in Clayton was a semifinalist for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award honoring especially talented young chefs who are likely to have a meaningful influence on the industry.  Executive Chef Jesse Mendica of Oak + Olive in Webster Groves and Executive Chef/Owner Mike Randolph of Público in The Loop were also named semifinalists for the Best Chef: Midwest award.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to encourage and acknowledge the restaurants, chefs and other industry innovators who create America’s diverse food culture.  Established in 1990, the JBF Awards recognize culinary achievement.  It’s regarded as one of the very highest levels of recognition in the culinary industry.  This year’s JBF Chef award winners will be announced May 1st at a gala in Chicago.

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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon is an experienced writer, editor, and broadcast journalist with a strong news background. She’s worked in radio and television news, and for national and international newswire services.

She began her career in public radio while still a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (where she earned a B.A. in Communications). She soon made the jump to news/talk radio, handling assignments from field reporting, airborne traffic, and news anchor, to producing and hosting daily talk shows. She’s also worked in television, most recently as the inaugural producer for The Allman Report on KDNL-TV 30, and as a news writer and reporter for national and international newswire services.