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Tiffani Faison and Rebel Rebel earn James Beard finalist nods

Irene Li, cofounder of Mei Mei Dumplings and Prepshift, receives a James Beard Leadership Award.

Lauren Friel, owner of Rebel Rebel Wine Bar, in Somerville, stands for a portrait at the wine bar in 2020. Rebel Rebel is a James Beard awards finalist in the Outstanding Wine Program category.Steven Senne/Associated Press

The James Beard Foundation announced finalists in various categories Wednesday, with a few Boston nods. The awards are considered the Oscars of the food world, recognizing top culinary talent nationwide. The ceremony is slated for Monday, June 13, in Chicago.

In the Northeast, Maine establishments fared better than those in Boston. Leeward in Portland received a Best New Restaurant nomination. Atsuko Fujimoto from Norimoto Bakery, also in Portland, is a finalist for Outstanding Baker.

Closer to home, Somerville’s Rebel Rebel is a finalist in the Outstanding Wine Program category. Tiffani Faison is a finalist for Best Chef: Northeast, representing her Fenway Italian restaurant, Orfano.


“Forever humbled and honored to be on this list,” she posted when sharing the news on Instagram.

In that category, she’s joined by Vien Dobui from CÔNG TỬ BỘT in Portland; Damian Sansonetti from Chaval in Portland; and Courtney Loreg from Woodford Food & Beverage, also in Portland. Nisachon Morgan from Saap in Randolph, Vt., rounds out the regional chef nominees.

Irene Li, cofounder of Mei Mei Dumplings and Prepshift, a restaurant onboarding platform, received a James Beard Leadership Award. Li also founded Project Restore Us, a nonprofit aiming to restore food security by providing accessible, nutritious, culturally appropriate, and affordable groceries to families in Greater Boston.

Irene Li at Mei Mei in 2017.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.