Jamie Bissonnette, Joanne Chang, Barry Maiden Awarded James Beard Nominations

While Boston wasn't represented on a national scale in the awards this year, hometown favorites still got some love.


2012 Best Chef: Northeast winner Tim Cushman of O Ya. Photo courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.

Earlier this morning, the James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for this year’s awards, with Jamie Bissonnette (Toro, Coppa), Joanne Chang (Flour, Myers + Chang), and Barry Maiden (Hungry Mother) snagging nods for Best Chef: Northeast, an honor won in years past by chefs like Jody Adams, Ken Oringer, Tony Maws, and most recently, Tim Cushman (who won last year for O Ya). Barbara Lynch has already been named an award recipient at the 2013 ceremony—she’ll be getting a prestigious “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” honor.

It’s extremely exciting for the nominated chefs, and we were able to chat on the phone briefly with Bissonnette, who is currently en route to New York to check in on Toro’s forthcoming Manhattan incarnation. “It’s this warm and fuzzy feeling that [says], ‘Hey, this is our industry, and you are a big part of it,'” Bissonnette says. “It’s an honor, knowing that the people voting on it are other Beard winners and chefs and peers.”

Obviously, as a champion of the Boston food scene, it’s disappointing to not see representation in larger national categories with local semifinalists like Outstanding Service (Eastern Standard), Outstanding Bar Program (The Hawthorne), Outstanding Pastry Chef (Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana), and Rising Star Chef (Tim Maslow, Strip-T’s; Will Gilson, Puritan & Co.). This should not take away from the achievements of the nominated chefs, of course, to whom we wish a massive congrats. The awards are on May 6 at the Lincoln Center in New York.