Here Are the 2017 James Beard Award Semifinalists from Boston and New England

SRV, Oleana, Uni, Eastern Standard, and more represent in Boston.

2017 James Beard Award nominees clockwise, from top left: 1) Juan Pedrosa of Yvonne's / photo Provided 2) Ken Oringer of Uni / Photo provided 3) Karen Akunowicz of Myers + Chang / Photo by Andrew Eccles / Bravo 4) Michael Lombardi and 5) Kevin O'Donnell of SRV / Photos Provided 6) Cassie Piuma of Sarma / Photo by Toan Trinh for Best of Boston 2014

2017 James Beard Award nominees clockwise, from top left: 1) Juan Pedrosa of Yvonne’s / photo Provided 2) Ken Oringer of Uni / Photo provided 3) Karen Akunowicz of Myers + Chang / Photo by Andrew Eccles / Bravo 4) Michael Lombardi and 5) Kevin O’Donnell of SRV / Photos Provided 6) Cassie Piuma of Sarma / Photo by Toan Trinh for Best of Boston 2014

It’s the most delicious time of the year: The James Beard Award Foundation has announced the 2017 semifinalists for the prestigious “Oscars of the food world.”

Among the most exciting new arrivals in Boston this year are SRV and Yvonne’s, and the JBF has taken notice.

Some regulars repeat this year: Maybe 2017 is finally the year Oleana can claim an Outstanding toque: Both executive chef Ana Sortun and pastry chef Maura Kilpatrick are up for their respective categories again. Top chef in our hearts, Karen Akunowicz, is up for the Best Chef Northeast title for a third time; she was a finalist in 2016. Cassie Piuma of Sarma is also back on the shortlist. The youngest mei of Mei Mei, Irene Li, resurfaces as a Rising Star Chef contender this year, too.

Garrett Harker and his legendary Kenmore haunt, Eastern Standard, are well represented again with nods for Outstanding Service and Best Restaurateur. Down Commonwealth Ave., Uni partners Ken Oringer and Tony Messina could also take awards this year, and so could Alex Crabb of Asta. Cambridge restaurants Shepard and Loyal Nine are on the map, as well as Easthampton destination Coco & the Cellar Bar.

Portland, Maine, proves itself to be a dining destination, with an impressive seven establishments honored in the small city, including another nomination for Eventide Oyster Co. chefs Andrew Wiley and Mike Taylor in the Best Chefs Northeast category. We told you Drifters Wife is worth the road trip: It’s up for Best New Restaurant. Also worth a drive: Portsmouth, N.H., which has a few solid representatives.

Elsewhere in the world of drinks: The JBF agrees with us that Katie Gilarde’s wine program at O Ya is exemplary. Ran Duan of the Baldwin Bar has been recognized for his stellar swizzling, and Chris Weld of Berkshire Mountain Distillers gets a shout, too.

On March 15, the foundation will announce the semifinalists, and the 27th annual James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is Monday, May 1, in Chicago. Check out the full list of New England and Best Chef Northeast nominees below.

Best New Restaurant

  • Drifters Wife, Portland, ME
  • SRV, Boston

Outstanding Baker

  • Alison Pray, Standard Baking Co., Portland, ME

Outstanding Bar Program

  • The Baldwin Bar, Woburn, MA
  • The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, Portland, ME

Outstanding Chef

  • Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, MA

Outstanding Pastry Chef

  • Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
  • Ilma Lopez, Piccolo, Portland, ME

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Fore Street, Portland, ME

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Garrett Harker, Boston (Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Row 34, and others)
  • Ken Oringer, Boston (Uni, Toro, Coppa, and others)

Outstanding Service

  • Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Boston

Outstanding Wine Program 

  • O Ya, Boston

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional

  • Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
  • Chris Weld, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Sheffield, MA

Rising Star Chef of the Year 

  • Irene Li, Mei Mei, Boston
  • Juan Pedrosa, Yvonne’s, Boston
  • Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick, ME

Best Chef: Northeast

  • Unmi Abkin, Coco & The Cellar Bar, Easthampton, MA
  • Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang, Boston
  • Tyler Anderson, Millwright’s, Simsbury, CT
  • Mucuy Bolles and Christian Makay, Three Stones, Brattleboro, VT
  • Alex Crabb, Asta, Boston
  • Steve and Ellen Gedra, The Black Sheep, Buffalo, NY
  • Brian Hill, Francine Bistro, Camden, ME
  • Jeffrey Lizotte, Present Company, Simsbury, CT
  • Matt Louis, Moxy, Portsmouth, NH
  • Evan Mallett, Black Trumpet, Portsmouth, NH
  • Tony Messina, Uni, Boston
  • Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain, Camden, ME
  • Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA
  • Susan Regis, Shepard, Cambridge, MA
  • Marc Sheehan, Loyal Nine, Cambridge, MA
  • Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar, Rockland, ME
  • Benjamin Sukle, Birch, Providence, RI
  • Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME
  • Derek Wagner, Nick’s on Broadway, Providence, RI
  • Jordan Ware, Hen of the Wood, Burlington, VT