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Local James Beard discussion

The Beard site is overwhelmed, but here is the complete semi-finalist list:

I have to say, I'm a bit embarrassed. Of the semi-finalists for best chef of the northeast, the Boston area has two out of twenty. Maybe it's an accurate reflection of our food scene in the area, but I think we should have more on the list (though I'm glad to see the overrated and coasting Orfaly not make the list this year). Maybe we would have more if the newer places, like Coppa, Sportello, Menton, etc. weren't owned by previous winners.

I'm excited to see Maura Kilpatrick make the pastry list (for Oleana, not Sofra). Based on her work at both spots, I think she should definitely be a finalist. Joanne Change makes pretty good, straightforward things, but I don't think a national reputation is deserved (at least based on her Flour offerings).

Hasn't the Garden been open for like three years? How long does someone get to be considered a "rising star"?

Barbara Lynch should be on the Best Restaurateur List.

What do others think? Were we shortchanged or accurately portrayed? Who would you have liked to see nominated?

1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

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  1. It was similar last year re the shortchanging. I think that is how the judges perceive the scene here.


    4 Replies
    1. re: scotty27

      Oh God, this thread is going to turn into another "food culture (or lack thereof)" clusterfestival, I can feel it...

      1. re: robwat36

        I agree. Better to change the subject: Spring will soon be here!

        1. re: scotty27

          True dat: I ate a burrito al pastor from Felipe's on a bench in Cambridge Common in my shirtsleeves this afternoon.

    2. I feel about this roughly the same way I feel when my fellow music critics start talking about who was and wasn't elected to the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame: what these people think has no bearing on my opinion of local restaurants, either those who win or those who get snubbed.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

        The Beard Foundation has great limitations, but it is one arbiter of criticism, much like the Academy in Hollywood. Take it for it's worth. No chef or restaurant ignores it.

      2. I think to be considered a rising star you have to be under 30.

        1. Also nominated was Troquet and Chris Campbell for "Outstanding Wine Service". It has always been my go to place for wine, well deserved!

          140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

          1. The nominating process is actually a popularity vote--anyone can go onto the james beard website, register and vote. being nominated may speak more to your ability to "bring out the vote" than to any thing else.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Wannabfoode

              That's not exactly true. This year -- for the first time -- they invited anyone and everyone to write in nominations for their favorite restaurant, wine program, etc as a means of seeing if there were great places not on their radar. [Which is where, yes if Boston folks think they're being underrepresented, they should've nominated those they consider worthy... and maybe they did and the committee passed, who knows?] The decision for who is named a semi-finalist still rests with the JB committee, not the number of votes any one place received.