Make us your home page

No James Beard finalists in Tampa

Tampa Bay area chefs, restaurants and culinary professionals were shut out again when the James Beard Foundation announced its "Academy Awards of food" finalists in a live-streamed event on Tuesday in Chicago, a city that has boasted 39 James Beard award winners.

Greg Baker, below, of Tampa's Refinery and Chad Johnson of Tampa's SideBern's, each with a "Best Chef: South" category semifinalist nomination this year, were denied finalist status when New Orleans swept four out of five spots in the category. Joey Redner of Tampa's Cigar City Brewing, who had received a semifinalist nomination for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional, was overlooked in favor of breweries Dogfish Head of Delaware and Brooklyn Brewery in New York. And Bern's Steak House, which received a semifinalist nomination for Outstanding Restaurant, was overlooked in that category this year as a finalist.

The only time Tampa had a James Beard winner was 1992, the second year the awards were given. Bern's Steak House sommelier Derrick Pagan won for wine service. Still, four semifinalists this year signaled a growing focus on the talents of Tampa Bay area chefs and restaurants. Last year Baker also picked up a Best Chef: South category semifinalist nomination. In 2012 there were nominations for Baker and Johnson in that category, as well as for Richard Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurant in the Restaurateur category. The Refinery received a nomination in 2011 for Best New Restaurant in the United States (it opened in 2010).

Florida, which had semi-finalists in other cities, didn't have any finalists at all, with even Miami being shut out.

The start of Tuesday's announcements was held up for the arrival of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who began with a speech about the restaurant industry and the legacy of Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, who died unexpectedly last year, describing him as an industry titan who contributed to making "the culinary arts truly a part of the arts."

Attendees waited through a long list of finalists in the Book, Journalism, Broadcast and Restaurant Design Awards categories before the much-anticipated Restaurant and Chef Awards finalists were announced. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony May 2 and 5 in New York's Lincoln Center.

For a list of finalists, go to

No James Beard finalists in Tampa 03/18/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 7:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 5 things to do under $5: Type artists, shuffleboard, toy train show, Wildflower Walk


    1 Letterheads Typefest: The muralists who run Illsol Space, a gallery in Tampa Heights, said their respect for handmade fonts and sign painting techniques moved them to curate this exhibit featuring type-based muralists, hand-style lettering designers, sign painters, letterpress studios and type designers. …

    Colm O’Connor, a Dublin sign writer, is among the 22 artists featured in the Letterheads Typefest exhibit at the Illsol Space gallery.
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 23


    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Nathan Sawaya with a sculpture from his The Art of the Brick exhibition coming to Tampa June 23- Sept. 4. It will be open for free Wednesdays through Sundays,  from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 802 E Whiting Street, Tampa. No tickets are required.[Courtesy  of the Art of the Brick]
  3. I give you a fish, you give me back my man


    The B-52s are a band with such a distinct visual look that you could tell it was them with just a glimpse of a picture. But was it always beehives and bright clothes for the hipsters from Athens? You can find the different looks of the B-52s in their video for the irresistible Give Me Back My Man.

  4. Joss Whedon's ex-wife accuses him of cheating, being 'hypocrite preaching feminist ideals'


    Joss Whedon made his name directing cult television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and big-budget action movies, which often featured women in empowering roles. Many applauded him for being a champion of women, a feminist in an industry accused of misogyny and sexism.

    Joss Whedon at the screening of "Much Ado About Nothing" in 2014. Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole alleged in an essay published by The Wrap on Sunday that Whedon had multiple affairs during their 16-year marriage. (Associated Press)
  5. For James Blunt, life is still 'Beautiful,' especially on tour with Ed Sheeran

    Music & Concerts

    Here's how much You're Beautiful still weighs on James Blunt: He specifically references his biggest hit twice on his new album, The Afterlove.

    ISCHGL, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 29:  James Blunt performs live on stage during the ‘Top Of The Mountain Concert’ on November 29, 2014 in Ischgl, Austria.  (Photo by Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images)