Three from Charleston claim nominations for James Beard Awards

Three of Charleston’s own advanced to the short list Monday for the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards, dubbed the “Oscars” of the food world.

Sean Brock of McCrady’s and Husk was nominated as a nationwide finalist for Outstanding Chef. The Ordinary oyster bar and seafood restaurant, owned by chef Mike Lata and business partner Adam Nemirow, received a nod for Best New Restaurant.

“Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart became one of three finalists for an “American Cooking” book award. Dupree lives in Charleston.

The New York-based foundation, which counts more than 4,000 members nationwide, held the annual announcement in Charleston for the first time. The luncheon event was staged under a large tent on the grounds of Lowndes Grove Plantation against a backdrop of the Ashley River.

Lata, Brock and Dupree all have won Beard awards in the past. In 2009, Lata won the title of “Best Chef Southeast,” as did Brock in 2010. Dupree has previously won two Beard awards for her cookbooks, “Southern Memories” and Comfortable Entertaining.”

“It’s awesome,” Lata declared afterward as he juggled his squirmy young son, Henry. “We didn’t know if we were just lucky the first time or not.”

Three other Charleston chefs weren’t as fortunate Monday. Those nominated as semifinalists in February for Best Chef Southeast but not making the finalist cut were Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh, Craig Deihl of Cypress and Joshua Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder.

Charleston Grill at Charleston Place Hotel also was an early contender for Outstanding Wine Program but its name was not called out Monday.

Still, it is an honor to make either the long or short list at all. The semifinalists were selected by a Restaurant and Chef Committee from more than 44,000 online entries in 20 categories. Finalists in each category were determined by more than 600 culinary professionals across the country.

Winners will be announced May 3-6 in New York City, culiminating with a gala ceremony on the final night.

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