The Super Bowl for Food Has Picked 11 Semifinalists From Maine
The James Beard Foundation has named 11 semifinalists from Maine in a bunch of categories for its 2023 restaurant and chef awards.
Every major industry has the award to crown the best in the business. We love to see what the best movie is or the best song, but we also love to see who's got the best food and drink.
The Portland Press Herald pointed out that most of Maine's semifinalists are in Portland, but there are a couple outside of the center of the universe. Jason LaVerdiere is nominated for Best Chef for Flux in Lisbon Falls. Tucked away in rural Maine is one of the country's best chefs!
Let's go through all 11 nominations and the category for which they were nominated.
Outstanding Restauranteur Award
- Krista Cole, of Sur Lie in Portland and Gather in Yarmouth
Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker
- Atsuko Fujimoto of Norimoto Bakery in Portland (she was a finalist last year but did not win)
- Sur Lie in Portland
- The Quarry in Monson
- The Jewel Box in Portland
Best New Restaurant
- Wolfpeach in Camden
Best Chef: Northeast
- Sara Jenkins for Nina June in Rockport
- Jason LaVerdiere for Flux in Lisbon Falls
- Courtney Loreg for Woodford Food & Beverage in Portland
- Tony Pastor for Fore Street in Portland
- Isaul Perez for Isa in Portland
The James Beard Awards have been around since 1990 and it's gone through a lot of changes. It's a little like the World Series, in that these semifinalists, then have to be vittled down to finalists. Like Krista Cole became a finalist last year but didn't win the award. We're rooting for ya this year!
The most competitive category is Best Chef. Tony Pastor the chef for Fore Street took over the kitchen a year ago. The owner and founder of Fore Street, Sam Hayward, has been nominated many times and in 2004 was the first Maine chef ever to win a James Beard award.
This is a very prestigious award and we are all rooting for the home team to bring home a stack of awards. Oh, and good luck getting a reservation!