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The Daily Dish Food and Drinks

Which Top Chef Alums Scored a 2017 James Beard Award Nomination?

Five former cheftestants were tapped for the prestigious award.

By Maggie Shi
Sheldon Simeon's Big Moment Cooking at the James Beard House

Every year, chefs across the country wait with bated breath for this day in March. It's the announcement of the final nominees for the James Beard Foundation Awards, the equivalent of the Oscars of the culinary world.

As expected, a number of your favorite Top Chef cheftestants made the cut, including a whopping three from Top Chef Season 9, set in Texas. Kentucky-based Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia once again scored a Best Chef: Southeast nomination (his fifth!).

Fellow Texas competitor, Beverly Kim, nabbed a nomination for Best Chef: Great Lakes. She shares the honor with husband Johnny Clark; the two co-own Parachute restaurant in Chicago.

But once again, Beverly is up against some stiff competition—she's facing off in this category against another cheftestant from her Texas season, Sarah Grueneberg, who also owns a Chicago restaurant, called Monteverde. Sarah was the runner-up on Top Chef Season 9, so she's definitely a force to be reckoned with.

It seems like it's true: Everything is bigger in Texas, even the number of James Beard nominees.

Two more cheftestants nabbed nominations, making it a total of five 2017 finalists from the Top Chef family.

Nina Compton from Top Chef Season 11 in New Orleans earned a Best Chef: South nod for her work at NOLA's Compère Lapin. The runner-up and Fan Favorite was previously based in Miami before opening her restaurant in New Orleans, so her time in the Big Easy was clearly a big influence.

And holding it down on the East Coast, Top Chef Season 13's Karen Akunowicz was nominated for Best Chef: Northeast over at Boston's Myers + Chang. Karen was previously nominated twice in this category.

The winners will be announced on May 1 at the James Beard Foundation's annual awards gala. We're keeping our fingers crossed for all our cheftestants.

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