Both Top Chef and Top Chef Masters cheftestants compete in the "Oscars of Food."

on Feb 21, 2013 - The Dish

The James Beard Awards are right around the corner, and we couldn't be prouder to see both Top Chef and Top Chef Masters alums are going for the win at what is often referred to as “The Oscars of Food.” Here’s a rundown of former Top Chef competitors who have made their way to the semifinals of the infamous culinary competition. Mazel, everyone!

Maria Hines of Top Chef Masters Season 2 holds the Outstanding Chef category for her acclaimed Seattle spot, Tilth. Maria scored the 2009 Beard award for Outstanding Chef: Northwest, so it’s no wonder she’s gunning for national glory. 

In the Outstanding Restaurant category, three Top Chef Masters alums are up for the award. Season 1 contestant John Besh’s New Orleans hotspot August is up against Cambridge’s own Oleana, which is manned by Season 2 competitor Ana Sortun. Rounding out the Outstanding Restaurant category is Chicago’s Spiaggia, which is not only owned by Master Tony Mantuano but headed by Top Chef: Texas competitor Sarah Grueneberg. Spiaggia chef/partner Tony Mantuano previously took home the Best Chef: Midwest win at the Beards, so hopefully he can start something of a winning streak!

New York City’s Best Chef category has three former Masters competitors: Season 2’s Wylie Dufresne of wd~50, Season 1’s Anita Lo, who owns the upscale contemporary American hotspot Annisa, and Jonathan Waxman, chef and owner of the West Village’s Barbuto.

Chefs south of the Mason-Dixon Line get their cred as semifinalists this year. Top Chef Season 5 star Jeff McInnis, of Miami Beach’s Yardbird Southern Table & Bar will battle in the Best Chef: South category against Masters Season 3 cheftestant Sue Zemanick of Geautreau’s in New Orleans. Top Chef Season 9 cheftestant Edward Lee also makes an appearance in the Best Chef category, but for the Southeastern title.

Three cheftestants are up for the Best Chef win for the Western territory, including Masters Season 1 finalist Michael Chiarello for his Napa Valley outpost Bottega in Yountville, CA. He’s up against Michael Cimarusti of Providence in Los Angeles and Masters Season 4 winner Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco. 

All 2013 nominees will be announced on March 18th, and the main event will take place in May. Stay tuned to see which Bravo stars get final nominations. 


Let us know: who are you rooting for?