James Beard Awards time

Once again, North Carolina is well represented in the semifinalists for the James Beard Awards, which were just announced.

Magnolia Grill in Durham was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant.

Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh was nominated for Best Chef Southeast, as was Scott Howell of Nana’s in Durham and Aaron Vandemark of Panciuto in Hillsborough. Other North Carolina nominees in that category were John Fleer of Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers and Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston. The nomination is a vote of confidence for Howard as she works to reopen the restaurant after a fire a few weeks ago.

Sean Lilly Wilson of Fullsteam Brewery in Durham was nominated in the Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional category.

Katie Button of Curate in Asheville was nominated in the Rising Star Chef category for new chefs.

Five finalists will be selected in each category on March 19, and the winners will be announced at a gala in New York on May 7.

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