The finalists for this year's "Oscars of food" are out, and as usual there are some Bay Area restaurants and chefs in contention. Topping the list is Angler, the more casual seafood-focused spinoff of Saison.
The James Beard Awards, which are given out annually in Chicago (this year's ceremony will be on May 6), function kind of like the Oscars in that there are categories both for artistry and for behind-the-scenes, technical talent in the restaurant sphere — as well as awards for journalism, cookbooks, and other food media. The chef and restaurant awards are divided up into 10 regions, with New York City getting its own — and that's kind of an anachronism given that, ahem, the Bay Area has more Michelin three-star restaurants than New York does now and a more nationally applauded food scene, but I digress. But unlike the Oscars, restaurants and chefs get nominated in the same categories year after year until they win.
For instance, David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos and Corey Lee of SF's Benu are both finalists in the Outstanding Chef category this year, and they will both get re-nominated if they don't win this year.
Also nominated this year from the Bay Area: Quince, in the category of Outstanding Restaurant (chef Michael Tusk previously won in 2011 for Best Chef: West); and Saison chef Joshua Skenes, who has been re-nominated for Best Chef: West. (The "West" category includes California, Nevada, and Hawaii.)
New SoMa Mexican spot El Pipila scored a nomination for its design by Schwartz and Architecture, and another design nod went to Avroko for China Live.
And last but not least, baker Avery Ruzicka has been nominated for Best Baker for Manresa Bread, which now has three locations in Los Gatos, Los Altos and Campbell.