Food and Wine Magazine has announced the 2018 James Beard Award Foundation's semi-finalists for 2018, and Maine is well represented. This is the most prestigious culinary award showcasing the very best of the best in 50 categories. The process started with over 23,000 entries. Finalists will be announced on March 14th and winners will be revealed at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 7th at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

Congratulations to all of these Maine restaurants and talented chefs. We are truly fortunate to be able to enjoy your food on the regular. Let me point out that we have five Maine chefs up for the title of Best Chef Northeast!

Here are the semi-finalists from Maine:

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: 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
  • Keiko Suzuki, Suzuki's Sushi Bar, Rockland

This is a great time to remind you that this is Maine Restaurant Week, get out there and experience the embarrassment of riches that is Maine's culinary scene! Check out participating restaurants and their menus here.