We're always proud of our chefs and judges, but the kvelling is especially exuberant this morning as not one but SIX of our chefs have been named semi-finalists for the 2012 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards! Top Chef: Texas finalist Paul Qui got a nod for Best Chef: Southwest. His mentor, Tyson Cole, actually won the category last year, so we'll see if they can make a repeat for their shared restaurant, Uchiko. Kevin Gillespie and Bryan Voltaggio are doing their Top Chef: Vegas cast proud as they are nominated for Rising Star Chef and Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, respectively. Season 4 winner, Stephanie Izard, are mentioned for Rising Star and Best Chef: Great Lakes, respectively. The real contest is for Best Chef: South, though. Season 9's Edward Lee is going up against judge Hugh Acheson! Hopefully they'll both make it to the final round!
There are too many Masters semifinalists to name, so check out the complete list HERE. And check back here on March 19th, as the list is narrowed down to the finalists. Until then, watch semifinalist Paul Qui vie to move on to the Top Chef: Texas finale in a sneak peek of this week's Quickfire Challenge.
See what the semi-finalists are saying about the big news on our Top Chef Tweet Tracker.