Monday, February 16, 2009

Atlanta shows James Beard what's up

In NY I was a card carrying member of the James Beard Society, an organization that celebrates great food and America's culinary heritage. So I put great stock in what the organization has to say about America's culinary scene. That's why I'm so excited to announce that the semi-finalists for the James Beard 2009 awards have been announced, and Atlanta has put in a damn fine showing.

Outstanding Restaurateur:
Pano Karatassos, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group

Outstanding Chef (US):
Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur
Anne Quatrano, Bacchanalia
Up against nationally renowned chefs such as Tom Colicchio (Craft) and Suzanne Goin (Lucques in LA)

Outstanding Restaurant:
Up against Mario Batali's Babbo and Jean George's eponymous NY outpost

Best New Restaurant:
Holeman and Finch

Rising Star Chef of the Year:
Kevin Gillespie, Woodfire Grill

Outstanding Pastry Chef:
Aaron Russell, The Chocolate Bar, Decatur

Outstanding Service:
The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead

Best Chef, Southeast:
Hugh Acheson, Five and Ten, Athens
Arnaud Berthelier, The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead
Linton Hopkins Restaurant Eugene
Hector Santiago, Pura Vida.

I've eaten everywhere on the list except for the Ritz and Restaurant Eugene. Can't say that the Ritz is high on my agenda at the moment but eager to try Eugene. I love what Hopkins has created at Holeman and Finch, so I can only imagine how good it is!

So glad to see Atlanta's dining scene getting some well deserve attention. This list doesn't even include stand outs like Richard Blais (Flip), Ford Fry (JCT), or Scott Serpas (Serpas), so this just skims the surface of all the great food to be had here.

See the full list here.



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