News you can use: foodie awards.

File under: Food news from our neck of the woods. The James Beard Foundation has announced the semifinalists for its influential annual awards program. A few notables from around these parts:

Best Chef: Great Lakes
Richard Blondin, Refectory Restaurant & Bistro, Columbus, OH
Jean-Robert de Cavel, Jean-Robert’s Table, Cincinnati
Greg Hardesty, Recess, Indianapolis
Anne Kearney, Rue Dumaine, Dayton
Regina Mehallick, R Bistro, Indianapolis
Kent Rigbsy, Rigsby’s Kitchen, Columbus, OH
Jonathon Sawyer,  The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
David Tallent, Restaurant Tallent, Bloomington, IN

A bit farther afield: Harvest in Louisville, Salt in St. Louis, and Bistronomic and Next in Chicago are all nominees for Best New Restaurant; Tru in Chicago is among the contenders for Best Restaurant. The Aviary and The Violet Hour (Chicago) and The Old Fashioned (Madison, WI), got semifinalist nods for Outstanding Bar Program.

Funny: I didn’t see the Side Porch Café anywhere on the list …

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