The long list for the James Beard awards was released this morning and the Charleston area made a strong showing with several appearances in the national categories.
Chef Mike Lata of FIG and the Ordinary is up for Outstanding Chef. Steve Palmer of the Indigo Road Restaurant Group is nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur while Butcher & Bee's Cynthia Wong shows up in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category.
The Dewberry and FIG are up for Outstanding Bar Program and Wine Program, respectively. The duo at High Wire Distilling Co., Ann Marshall and Scott Blackwell, are in the Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits professional.
"It's a total surprise," says Marshall. "It's a fantastic category and so many of our friends are on there. It's such a great group of people, and we are so excited to be included."
Kevin Johnson of the Grocery is one of three Charleston Best Chef: Southeast semifinals. He joins Alex Lira of Bar Normandy and Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott's BBQ, both of whom are first timers on the list.
The semifinalists are selected from 20,000 online entries in 21 categories. From here, the semifinalists are voted
"Charleston has such a great food and beverage scene," says Marshall. "It's cool to see so many nominees from Charleston. It just feels good."