February 22, 2012

James Beard semifinalists include four Portland chefs

One local restaurant is tapped for Best New Restaurant; the other gets an Outstanding Restaurant nod.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Melissa Kelly, chef/co-owner, Primo

click image to enlarge

Sam Hayward, Fore Street chef/owner

Tim Greenway

Additional Photos Below

On Tuesday afternoon, the restaurant's namesake had not yet heard the good news, but Michelle Corry planned to call her as soon as she could. "It's going to make Michelle's grandmother just so happy," Corry said.

The James Beard Foundation said Tuesday that it had received a record 57,000 online nominations this year for 20 restaurant and chef award categories. Those online entries were tabulated by an independent accounting firm.

The semifinalist list will now be sent to a volunteer panel of more than 550 judges, a group that includes past winners, restaurant critics, food editors and other knowledgeable people in the food world.

Five finalists will be announced in each category March 19 at The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Winners will be announced at a ceremony May 7 at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Hayward noted that judges must sign a disclaimer saying they have actually eaten at the restaurants they've voted for, or eaten the food of nominated chefs.

That stipulation, combined with the fact that there are simply more judges in larger cities, makes it "numerically improbable" that Maine would have so many semifinalists.

"I think it's really exciting," Hayward said. "I think it shows that Maine is being watched."

Steve Corry agreed, saying the number of semifinalists from Maine shows that interest in food and restaurants here is not just a passing fad.

"It's not a trend, so to say," he said. "Portland is solidifying its place in the nation – not just Portland, but Maine – as a place where you can go and eat well."


Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: mgoad@pressherald.com


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

The owners of Petite Jacqueline in Portland didn’t find out about their James Beard nomination until they got a text from a former sous chef.

2011 File Photo/Derek Davis


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)