BOSTON - We write a lot about the various surveys that result in Massachusetts hotels, restaurants, and more being named among the best of their kind across the country. There are always awards to look out for and there are plenty of quality Massachusetts locations that compete to be named in these surveys.
However, every now and then, a batch of honors and awards is bestowed upon Massachusetts locations and it has the potential to make national headlines. That is because these kinds of awards are well-established beyond a list in a magazine. These awards are the James Beard Awards.
The James Beard Foundation is one of the preeminent organizations that celebrate the best in the culinary arts of the United States. The James Beard Awards are basically the Oscars for food and there are always a ton of categories that are announced and even more restaurants that compete for recognition in these categories.
This year, Massachusetts was exceedingly well-represented on the list of nominees for the James Beard Awards and the restaurants of the state are officially semifinalists in eleven different categories for these awards, as shared by Boston Magazine.
Some of the major categories include Massachusetts semifinalists, as well. For example, Outstanding Restaurant contains a North End seafood spot, Neptune Oyster, as the representative for New England-style lobsters and marine food. Best Chef in the Northeast is also a major category for Boston cookers and there are eight different nominees from the state. Orfano's Tiffani Faison and MIDA's Douglass Williams come from Boston in this category. Pagu's Tracy Chang, The Table at Season to Taste's Carl Dooley, and Cafe Sushi's Seizi Imura represent Cambridge. Coco and the Cellar Bar in Easthampton, Sarma in Somerville, and The Club Car in Nantucket round out the list with Unmi Abkin, Cassie Piuma, and Mayumi Hattori, respectively.
Fox and the Knife and Tanam represent the Best New Restaurant category and Mei Mei's Irene Li represents the Rising Star category, in terms of awards that celebrate the newness of Massachusetts cuisine. Oleana's Ana Sortun and JK Food's Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer are nominated in the categories for Chefs and Restaurateurs and they are also previous winners in their categories. But Massachusetts is also present in baking, bar, wine, hospitality, and pastry categories. Suffice to say, it is a great time to be a Massachusetts restaurant because there's a good chance that your favorite just netted a James Beard nomination.
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