These 16 Top Chef Cheftestants and Alumni Made This Year’s List of James Beard Semifinalists

These 16 Top Chef Cheftestants and Alumni Made This Year’s List of James Beard Semifinalists

The Top Chef judges must be beaming right now.

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Your First Look at Top Chef Season 17!

The James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary excellence in the United States, so it's only natural for some Top Chef alumni and Cheftestants to make the cut. However, this year is a bit different.

The 2020 list of semifinalists is actually chock full of familiar names and faces. Sixteen past and present Cheftestants made it onto the list this year — a major accomplishment for anyone in the industry!

So, which of your favorites made it?

First off, there are two All Stars on the list, who will be competing on Season 17 of Top Chef: Karen Akunowicz and Gregory Gourdet. Karen and her business, Fox & the Knife, are featured under the "Best New Restaurant" category of the list, while Gregory (director of culinary operations at Departure) is on the list for "Best Chef: Northwest & Pacific."

Another "Best New Restaurant" semifinalist is Mei Lin for her eatery, Nightshade. She is also a semifinalist for "Best Chef: California."

In addition to Gregory, we also have two other alumni in the "Best Chef: Northwest & Pacific" category: Sheldon Simeon (Lineage) and Chad White (Zona Blanca).

Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde, Chicago) is a semifinalist for "Outstanding Chef."

James Rigato (Mabel Gray) is a semifinalist for "Best Chef: Great Lakes," while Nicholas Elmi (Laurel) is in the running for "Best Chef: Mid Atlantic."

The "Best Chef: Mountain" semifinalists are Carrie Baird (Bar Dough) and Brother Luck (Four by Brother Luck).

Tyler Anderson (Millwright's Restaurant), Carl Dooley (The Table at Season to Taste), and Tiffani Faison (Orfano) are all semifinalists for "Best Chef: Northeast."

Lindsay Autry (The Regional Kitchen & Public House) and Isaac Toups (Toups' Meatery) are both gunning for the title of "Best Chef: South."

And finally, the semifinalist for the "Best Chef: Southeast" category is Annie Pettry (Decca).

Congratulations to these James Beard Foundation Award semifinalists! 

Check out the video above to see what's in store for Season 17 of Top Chef, premiering with a supersized episode on Thursday, March 19 at 10/9c.

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