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February 16, 2018

11 Maine semifinalists in the running for James Beard Awards

Photo / Tim Greenway Cara Stadler, owner and chef of Tao Yuan in Brunswick, is among 11 Maine semifinalists announced Thursday in the 2018 James Beard Awards competition.

Eleven Maine chefs and restaurants have been named semifinalists for the 2018 James Beard Awards, including some familiar names from previous years.

Semifinalists in 21 categories were chosen from a list of more than 20,000 online entries, representing “a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations” across the country, according to Wednesday’s announcement.

Here are Maine’s 2018 contenders for the coveted culinary honors:

  • Outstanding baker: Alison Pray, Standard Baking Co., Portland
  • Outstanding chef: Sam Hayward, Fore St., Portland
  • Outstanding pastry chef: Ilma Lopez, Piccolo, Portland
  • Outstanding restaurant: Chase’s Daily, Belfast
  • Outstanding service: The Back Bay Grill, Portland
  • Rising star chef of the year (30 or younger): Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick
  • Best chef, Northeast: Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House, North Yarmouth; Vien Dobui, Cong Tu Bot, Portland; Erin French, The Lost Kitchen, Freedom; Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain, Camden; and Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar, Rockland.

Final nominees for all award categories will be announced in Philadelphia on March 14, and the James Beard Awards Gala will take place on May 8 in Chicago. The 2018 James Beard Media Awards are scheduled for April 27 in New York City.

The James Beard Foundation honors James Beard, a celebrated cook, cookbook author, teacher and television personality who died in 1985. The Foundation says its mission is to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone.

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