See which NJ restaurants, chefs were named James Beard semifinalists

James Beard award winners receive a medal

The 2018 James Beard semifinalists have been announced and several St. Louis restaurants and chefs made the cut.

Two renowned Bay Area chefs and one hot new wine-country restaurant are among those vying for this year's James Beard Foundation awards. The finalists will be revealed at on March 14, with the winners being announced on May 7 at the James Beard Awards Gala. Outside of the kitchen and bar, then-Westword restaurant critic Jason Sheehan won a first-place Journalism award for Newspaper Restaurant Review or Critique, and another Westword writer, Jared Jacang Maher, won an award for his feature "A Hunger to Help", about Denver's SAME Cafe.

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Palme d'Or at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables was nominated for Outstanding Service.

This is Jacobs' and Van Rite's first ever James Beard Award nomination while Bell, Carlisle, Hauck and the Bartolotta's are second-year nominees. In a growing sign of the city's food excellence, St. Louis can boast the Best Chef: Midwest victor for the last two years running - Gerard Craft won for Niche in 2016 and Kevin Nashan for Sidney Street Cafe in 2017. JuneBaby, Edouardo Jordan's Southern restaurant in Seattle, is also nominated for Best New Restaurant, and won that same distinction from Eater's food critic Bill Addison previous year. Aqui's Jillian Bartolome is an Outstanding Pastry Chef Nominee.

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What do local Central Florida chefs Henry Salgado, Scott Hunnel, Kathleen Blake and Brandon McGlamery all have in common? Underbelly's Chris Shepherd (2014), Oxheart's Justin Yu (2016) and Hugo's Hugo Ortega (2017) now wait to see if another Houston chef can make it four of the last five. The 32-seat restaurant fills up fast on busy nights. This accolade is considered for a chef age 30 or younger who is making an impact on the industry. The Indigo Road group owns The Oak Table in Columbia.

And Berkeley's Great China is in the running for outstanding wine program, as is San Francisco's Benu.

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