Chef Steve McHugh, The Esquire Tavern Named James Beard Award Semifinalists

Chef Steve McHugh, The Esquire Tavern Named James Beard Award Semifinalists

Justin Severino of Lawrenceville's Cure and Wei Zhu of Chengdu Gourmet in Squirrel Hill are semifinalists for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Award semifinalists were selected from a list of more than 24,000 online entries, representing dining destinations in 10 different regions across the United States. Winners of the 2017 James Beard Media Awards, honoring the nation's top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will be announced on April 25. Richer earned his first nod in that category last year, but Anderson and Baldino had been nominated for five years in a row. "It's been a goal of mine for my whole career".

Also recognized as a semifinalist in this category previous year, Bluestem received a major renovation in 2014.It continues to receive kudos as "a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service", with executive chef Andrew Longres recently promoted to run the kitchen.

No one was more surprised than Chizuko Fukuyoshi, who opened the restaurant with her husband Shigeru more than 40 years ago after moving here from Japan.

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Maggie Huff is a semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef for her gorgeous work at FT33.

Wynwood's Kyu is up for Best New Restaurant, competing with heavy hitters like Bastion in Nashville, Olmsted in Brooklyn, and Le Coucou in New York City.

Upperline's JoAnn Clevenger is nominated for the Outstanding Restaurateur award and both Brigtsen's and Galatoire's are in the running for the Outstanding Service title. Nominations will also be announced live via the Foundation's Facebook Live video feed and in real time on Twitter.

Finalists for the awards - considered by many to be the equivalent of a culinary Oscar - will be announced on March 15.

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