The James Beard Foundation has announced its list of semifinalists for 2018 awards, and metro Atlanta restaurants and chefs fared well, although there were several notable omissions.
The finalists will be announced March 14 in Philadelphia, and the winners will be announced May 7 in Chicago.
Among national awards, Brian So of Spring in Marietta and Parnass Savang of pop-up Talat Market in Inman Park are among those chefs under the age of 30 nominated as Rising Star Chef, with So being a semifinalist in the category for a second time. Sarah O’Brien of Little Tart was nominated again in the Outstanding Baker category.
In the Best Chef: Southeast category, Ri Liu of Masterpiece in Duluth was nominated for the second time , along with Atsushi Hayakawa of Sushi Hayakawa and return nominees Ryan Smith of Staplehouse and Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani in Asheville and Decatur (as well as Botiwalla in Ponce City Market). Noticeably absent from the category is Kevin Gillespie, a previous finalist. Steven Satterfield, who won in the category last year, isn't eligible to be nominated in the category again for five years (though he's eligible to be nominated in other categories).
Mashama Bailey of The Grey in Savannah and Matthew Raiford of The Farmer & The Larder in Brunswick also got nods in the Best Chef: Southeast category.
Chef and restaurateur Hugh Acheson was recognized in the Outstanding Chef category for his restaurant Five & Ten in Athens (he also has several projects in metro Atlanta).
Other semifinalists with Georgia ties include former One Flew South chef Duane Nutter's Mobile, Ala. restaurant Southern National, which was nominated for Best New Restaurant and Steve Palmer, who was nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur and whose Charleston, S.C.-based Indigo Road hospitality group also includes Atlanta restaurants O-Ku , Oak Steakhouse and Colletta in Avalon and Donetto in West Midtown .
The Georgia semifinalists include:
Sarah O’Brien, Little Tart Bakeshop, Atlanta
Outstanding Bar Program
Kimball House, Decatur
Outstanding Wine Program
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Parnass Savang, Talat Market, Atlanta
Brian So, Spring, Marietta
Best Chef: Southeast
Atsushi Hayakawa, Sushi House Hayakawa, Atlanta
Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani, Decatur and Asheville, N.C.
Ryan Smith, Staplehouse, Atlanta
Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah
Rui Liu, Masterpiece, Duluth
Matthew Raiford, The Farmer & The Larder, Brunswick
Hugh Acheson, Five & Ten, Athens
Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road (Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku, Colletta, Donetto)
A complete list of 2018 semifinalists is online at jamesbeard.org/awards.
More on Staplehouse and Ryan Smith: