Two restaurants, one craft brewer and four chefs from Maine have made the list of semifinalists for the 2014 James Beard Awards.
Masa Miyake, owner of three restaurants in Portland, is a semifinalist in the Best Chef: Northeast category for his work at Miyake, his Japanese restaurant at 468 Fore St. Miyake also owns Pai Men Miyake on State Street and Miyake Diner on Spring Street.
Two chefs from Camden also made the list of 20 Best Chefs: Northeast nominees: Brian Hill of Francine Bistro, who has been on the semifinalist list several times, and Ravin Nakjaroen of Long Grain. In addition to Francine Bistro, Hill owns Shepherd’s Pie, a Rockport pub, and Seabright, a pizzeria in Camden.
Cara Stadler, chef/co-owner of Tao Yuan, a popular Asian fusion restaurant in Brunswick, joins 24 other nominees from around the country in the “Rising Star Chef of the Year” category. Stadler recently announced plans to open a dumpling house on Spring Street in Portland’s West End.
In a nod to Maine’s growing craft beer scene, Rob Tod, owner of Allagash Brewing Co., has been named a semifinalist in the category of “Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional.”
And it seems there hasn’t been a James Beard short list in recent years that hasn’t included chef Sam Hayward of Fore Street, who won Best Chef: Northeast in 2004 – the first chef in Maine to do so – and whose restaurant at 288 Fore St. is a perennial semifinalist in the “Outstanding Restaurant” category. This is the sixth time Fore Street has made the “Outstanding Restaurant” list, which contains 20 nominees from all around the country; the restaurant made it to the finals in 2010.
Primo, the Rockland restaurant owned by James Beard award-winning chef Melissa Kelly, is also a semifinalist this year for “Outstanding Restaurant.”
Kelly has won the Best Chef: Northeast award twice, including last year for her work at Primo. Other Maine chefs who have won Best Chef: Northeast include Rob Evans in 2009, for his work at Hugo’s, and Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier in 2010 for their work at Arrows, their longtime Ogunquit restaurant that is now up for sale.
The long list of semifinalists in each category will be narrowed down to a handful of finalists that will be announced March 18. The prestigious James Beard awards, often called the Oscars of the food world, will be presented May 2 and 5 in New York City.
Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: