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Apr 1, 2009 05:35 AM

MSP- James Beard Award Finalist Trio [Moved from Midwest Board]

We are lucky enough in MSP to have 3 of the 5 finalists for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef-Midwest Award. Isaac Becker for 112 Eatery, Alex Roberts for Alma, and Tim McKee for La Belle Vie. The others are Colby Garrelts for Bluestem in Kansas City, and Gerard Craft for Niche in St. Louis. CheeseGuy and I are hoping to reprise our plan to eat at all the finalists again this year. We'll keep you posted.

And btw, Sameh Wadi from Saffron was on the list of nominees for Best New Chef. I cannot imagine anyone more deserving.

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  1. jfood has eaten in 112 and Alma several times. Although he loves 112, Alma is significantly better. The menu at 112 has been the same for months whereas Alma is constantly changes its menu and each version just adds to jfood's opinion that Alma is a clear choice between these two.

    1. :)
      all 3 were also nominated last year for our region.
      and like last year, the local vote will be split 3 ways amongst them, and the winner will be one of the other folks-- most likely the fellow closest to chicago. then we'll do it all again next year.

      all 4 msp chefs mentioned are phenomenal, of course, but msp is heavy on talent and short on population, which is why someone not as good as any of them will get this award handed to her/him, instead. pretty lame.

      1. MSP is bringing it's A game for sure and I'm really pleased to see some well deserved nominations in the greater Detroit area for The Great Lakes region including;

        Luciano Del Signore, Bacco Ristorante, Southfield, MI
        Brian Polcyn, Five Lakes Grill, Milford, MI
        John Somerville, The Lark, West Bloomfield, MI
        Alex Young, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI

        I am also pleased to see Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier of Arrows Restaurant, Ogunquit, ME get nominated for best chef in their area. Well deserved.
        The other stand out for was was a nomination in the outstanding restaurant category to;
        Fore Street, Portland, ME.

        It's nice to see some of the guys who are working on their craft outside of the major cities get recognized.

        1. It's all political, don't you know? Some of these folks are nominated over and over again, until one fine year, they finally win. And quite a number of superior chefs never get even a nomination.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ChefJune

            I am sure there may be some political aspect to the James Beard Awards. It just so happens that the MSP chefs nominated this (and last) year are some of my favorites. Not all, but definitely three of my top 5 or 7.

            I really just wanted to highlight the work they did (which is very praiseworthy) rather than dwell on the multitudes that were not nominated. That was why I posted on the Midwest Board, so people in the MSP area could know and be proud.

            And soupkitten, I completely agree with you (as always)!

            1. re: cheeseguysgirl

              gosh i sound so jaded and grouchy in my response above. but yes, it's how i feel, though i am saying it with a smile and a wink. nevertheless i am a huge fan of all 4 of those guys, we're so lucky to have them all in msp (and all of them cooking with great local ingredients). jb award or no, they are all stars in my book. maybe the upside of the op getting moved will be that folks visiting msp will make a point to check out their restaurants (on the expense account!). wish i had the ching right now to do a triple-head review of the msp beard nominees, that would be fun!

              1. re: soupkitten

                well, i panfried my words above with some local ramps and fiddleheads, and i'm eating them now. . . delish! LOL!

                tim mckee won!!!

                congrats, chef mckee

                1. re: soupkitten

                  I'm very pleased, too. I expected the Twin Cities vote would be split again, and the win would go to one of the Missouri chefs. Tim is a very deserving winner.