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Surprises on the list of local semifinalists for 2016 James Beard awards

Flour’s Joanne Chang is a James Beard semifinalist for outstanding baker. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/file 2015/Globe Staff

The semifinalists for the 2016 James Beard awards were announced today, and several local notables are on the long list. (The actual nominees will be announced March 15.)

For best new restaurant, Shepard in Cambridge and the Honey Paw in Portland, Maine. (Both are deserving, but with places like Shaya in New Orleans on the list, does either stand a chance?)

For outstanding baker, Joanne Chang of Flour and Cheryl Maffei and Jonathan Stevens of Hungry Ghost Bread in Northampton. (Prediction: Chang will be named every year until she wins.)

For outstanding bar program, Café ArtScience and Row 34. (Todd Maul at Café ArtScience should win this. When there is a dedicated beer program category, and it can’t be long, Row 34 should, too.)


For outstanding chef, Ana Sortun. And for outstanding pastry chef, Maura Kilpatrick. Both of Oleana.

For outstanding restaurant, the long-lived Fore Street in Portland, Maine.

For outstanding restaurateur, Garrett Harker of Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Row 34, The Hawthorne, and Branch Line. (Locally, nobody does it better.)

For outstanding service, L’Espalier and Strip-T’s (often mentioned in the same sentence) (and two very different flavors of apostrophe).

For outstanding wine, beer, or spirits professional, Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Company and Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine.

For rising star of the year, Irene Li of Mei Mei, Marc Sheehan of Loyal Nine, and Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan in Brunswick, Maine.

The nominees for Best Chef: Northeast are. . .

Unmi Abkin, Coco & the Cellar Bar, Easthampton

Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang

Tyler Anderson, Millwrights Restaurant, Simsbury, Conn.

Erin French, The Lost Kitchen, Freedom, Maine

Eric Gabrynowicz, Restaurant North, Armonk, N.Y.

Wesley Genovart, SoLo Farm & Table, South Londonderry, Vt.

Brian Hill, Francine, Camden, Maine

Aaron Josinsky, Misery Loves Co., Winooski, Vt.


Matt Louis, Moxy Restaurant, Portsmouth, N.H.

Dan Magill, Arethusa al tavolo, Bantam, Conn.

Zak Pelaccio, Fish & Game, Hudson, N.Y.

Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville

Susan Regis, Shepard, Cambridge

Guy Reuge, Mirabelle, Stony Brook, N.Y.

Michael Scelfo, Alden & Harlow, Cambridge

Champe Speidel, Persimmon, Bristol, R.I.

Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar, Rockland, Maine

Philip Tang, Banyan Bar + Refuge

Derek Wagner, Nick’s on Broadway, Providence

Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, Maine

For the complete list of semifinalists, visit www.jamesbeard.org/blog/2016-jbf-restaurant-and-chef-award-semifinalists.

Devra First can be reached at dfirst@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.