A delicious state to be in

North Carolina is home to 14 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists for 2017

Christine T. Nguyen | The North State Journal
Raleigh chef and restaurateur Ashley Christensen jokes with N.C. State professor Dr.Cat Warren on Tuesday

The James Beard Foundation announced today its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 27th annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Selected from a list of more than 24,000 online entries, the prestigious group of semifinalists represents a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in 10 different regions across the U.S., to the nation’s best new restaurants, rising star chefs, pastry chefs and bakers. On the list were 14 semifinalists who bring their expertise and delicious food to North Carolina. Outstanding Baker A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.Phoebe Lawless, Scratch, DurhamLionel Vatinet, La Farm Bakery, CaryOutstanding ChefA working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Must have been working as a chef for the past five years.Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, RaleighAndrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel HillRising Star Chef A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.Gabe Barker, Pizzeria Mercato, CarrboroBest Chef Southeast Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region. Colin Bedford, The Fearrington House, PittsboroSteven Devereaux Greene, Herons in the Umstead Hotel, CaryJohn Fleer, Rhubarb, AshevilleVivian Howard, Chef & the Farmer, KinstonMatt Kelly, Mateo, DurhamJoe Kindred, Kindred, Davidson Cheetie Kumar, Garland, RaleighElliott Moss, Buxton Hall, AshevillePaul Verica, Heritage Food and Drink, Waxhaw