Houston Kicks Ass With Nine James Beard Semifinalist Nods

Chris Ponte inside his latest restaurant project On Swann

This year's list of semi-finalists for Restaurant and Chef Awards from the New York-based James Beard Foundation includes four names from the IN dining scene.

Gabe Barker of Pizzeria Mercato in Carrboro was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year.

As a James Beard semifinalist, Petrehn joins a "prestigious" group of chefs and food-industry professionals from across the country in the honor, selected from a list of more than 24,000 online entries. The category honors restaurants open for than 10 years that have been "a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service".

Maggie Huff is a semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef for her gorgeous work at FT33.

Ben Affleck Is Not Leaving The DC Cinematic Universe
"I have been told that Affleck is talking with Warner Bros in an attempt to get out of being Batman", the podcast host alleged. When Warner Bros' set up its interconnected DCEU, they copied Marvel's Cinematic Universe.

"The prestigious group of semifinalists in 21 categories represents a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in ten different regions across the USA, to the nation's top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, rising star chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers", a news release said. Owner and executive chef Spike Gjerde won Best Chef Mid-Atlantic in 2015, bringing home Baltimore's first-ever James Beard Award.

Also, one Milwaukee restaurant is one of the semifinalists for the Outstanding Restaurateurs award. The foundation will announce the final nominees on March 15.

New Orleans chefs and restaurants were heavily represented on the James Beard Foundation's newly released list of 2017 awards semifinalists. The announcements are broadcast online via the Foundation's Facebook Live feed.

To see the complete list of James Beard Award semifinalists for 2017, visit the James Beard Foundation website. The winners will be announced during a gala at Lyric Opera of Chicago in New York City on May 1.

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