James Beard award nominees announced – The Boston Globe

Joanne Chang, of Flour Bakery + Cafe.

Michael Harlan Turkell

Joanne Chang, of Flour Bakery + Cafe.

The nominees for this year’s James Beard awards, often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world,” were announced today. Many regional candidates make the cut.

Erin Byers Murray and Jeremy Sewall are nominated for their book, “The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes,” in the American Cooking category.

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For Best New Restaurant, Central Provisions in Portland, Me., gets a nod. (Alden & Harlow, which was a semifinalist, does not.)

Joanne Chang, of Flour Bakery + Cafe, is nominated in the Outstanding Baker category. Maura Kilpatrick, of Oleana, is named for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Both are phenomenally talented. Sweets are a tough category for Boston on a national stage, but both are very deserving, and with local judges pushing for them hard, at least one of them might pull it off.

Ana Sortun of Oleana, a semifinalist in the Outstanding Chef category, doesn’t land the nomination. This is no kind of knock. The competition in that category was unbelievably strong. Other regional semifinalists of note that don’t advance: The Hawthorne, for Outstanding Bar Program; Fore Street, for Outstanding Restaurant; Garrett Harker, for Outstanding Restaurateur; Michael Leviton, Outstanding Restaurateur; L’Espalier, for Outstanding Service; Strip-T’s, Outstanding Service; and Troquet, for Outstanding Wine Program.

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For Rising Star Chef of the Year, Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan, in Brunswick, Me., gets a nod. Max Hull and Irene Li, of Mei Mei, were semifinalists but don’t advance.

And now for the category where someone from the region is guaranteed to win. The nominees for Best Chef: Northeast are Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang; Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother; Masa Miyake, Miyake, Portland, Me.; Cassie Piuma, Sarma; and Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, Me.

I’m so pleased to see Akunowicz, Maiden, and Piuma on this list. I think they all deserve it. But this could easily be the year that Maine blows away Massachusetts. Stay tuned. The winners will be announced May 4.