Cafe Society

Alex Seidel, Jennifer Jasinski, Frank Bonanno, Mark Fischer, Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, Frasca Food and Wine and Peak Spirits all James Beard semi-finalists

The James Beard Foundation has just announced its crop of restaurant and chef semi-finalists vying for a coveted 2012 James Beard award, and several Denver chefs, one Boulder restaurant and one mountain distillery are all named as contenders.

Alex Seidel (Fruition); Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Euclid Hall and Bistro Vendome); and Mark Fischer (Six 89 in Carbondale and Phat Thai in Carbondale and Denver) are all semi-finalists in the Best Chef Southwest category.

Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, the pastry queen at Olivea and Duo, is a semi-finalist in the Outstanding Pasty Chef category, while Frank Bonanno, who owns Mizuna, Bones, Luca d'Italia, Osteria Marco, Lou's Food Bar, Green Russell, Wednesday's Pie and Russell's Smokehouse, grabbed an Outstanding Restaurateur nod.

In addition, Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder snagged a semi-finalist spot in the Outstanding Wine Program category. And Lance Hanson, of Peak Spirits in Hotchkiss, was named a semi-finalist in the sprint to become the Foundation's most Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional.

Curiosity-seekers can view the entire roster of semi-finalists here. And on Monday, March 19, on the Foundation's Twitter page, the narrowed-down list of Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominees for the Book, Journalism, Restaurant Graphics and Design, and Broadcast and New Media awards will be announced.

In the meantime, best of luck to all the chefs, distillers, restaurants and restaurateurs in Colorado who were nominated.