In February, the James Beard Foundation released the names of the chef, restaurateur and restaurant semi-finalists vying for a coveted spot as a James Beard finalist. And today, just minutes ago, the Foundation announced its 2012 finalists...and guess who's in it to win it?
Both Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder and Jennifer Jasinski, chef/owner of Rioja, Euclid Hall and Bistro Vendome, have made it to the final showdown. The nominees, streamed live from the Venetian and the Palazzo in Las Vegas, were chosen from 56 categories, including Outstanding Wine Program, Rising Chef, Outstanding Restaurateur and Best Chef Southwest.
Frasca, whose wine program is commanded by Master Sommeier Bobby Stuckey, received a finalist nomination in the Outstanding Wine Program category, while Jasinski is riding high as a Best Chef Southwest finalist.
Oh! And former Westword restaurant critic Jason Sheehan, now the food editor of Philadelphia magazine, is a Journalism Award finalist for this piece: The Birth of the Atomic Cheeseburger, written last October. And just in case you've forgotten, Sheehan won the James Beard Award in 2003.
The chef award winners will be announced on Monday, May 7 at the James Beard Foundation Awards gala in New York City.