Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman have done it again, receiving a pair of nominations for 2016 James Beard Awards. Wolf, the chef at celebrated Harbor East restaurant Charleston, was named a semifinalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. Charleston’s wine program, helmed by Foreman, also received a nod as a semifinalist in the Outstanding Wine Program category.
This was the fifth semifinalist nomination for Chef Wolf; she was nominated in 2006, 2008, 2014 and last year, when Woodberry Kitchen’s Spike Gjerde took home Baltimore’s first James Beard Award. The wine program has also been nominated four times prior to this year; in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
In the vein of the Academy Awards, being nominated for a James Beard Award truly is an honor. The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit culinary arts group based in the Greenwich Village townhouse that once housed legendary gourmand James Beard. Award semifinalists are selected by a committee of nationally recognized food journalists. They start with a pool of publicly nominated culinary professionals and programs – over 20,000 this year – narrowing the list to focus on the best and brightest in the industry.
The list of semifinalists will be narrowed to five finalists in each category; finalists are determined by a panel of over 300 previous James Beard Award winners who vote via ballot. The list of finalists will be announced March 15 and, following a second vote among the same panel, winners will be announced at the 2016 James Beard Awards Gala, taking place at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 2nd.
Wolf and Foreman are the familiar names behind some of Baltimore’s favorite restaurants, including Petit Louis, Johnny’s, Cinghiale and Pazo. Chef Wolf’s sophisticated Low Country cuisine, with its French roots and careful execution, and Foreman’s thoughtfully curated wine lists, are both more than worthy of the nominations. We’ll be pulling for both when the finalists are announced next month and again, hopefully, when the winners take the stage in Chicago in May.
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