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Pineapple and Pearls, Sweet Home Café Are Among This Year's James Beard Award Semifinalists

Lots of D.C. love, though final cuts will be made next month

The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on May 1.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The James Beard Foundation has released its long list of semifinalists, recognizing culinary achievement from coast to coast. Several local chefs and restaurants were given nods, though it's important to remember that this is the "long list" of nominees: the finalists for the 27th annual awards will be revealed March 15, and the winners come in May.

Over 24,000 entries were received for 21 Restaurant and Chef Award categories; here’s the full list of nominees. Among the local highlights of semifinalists: Pineapple and Pearls and Sweet Home Café at the National Museum of African American History and Culture are both being considered for the Best New Restaurant Category. For a second consecutive year, Mark Furstenberg of Bread Furst is a potential nominee for Outstanding Baker.

Columbia Room is up for Outstanding Bar Program, while Fabio Trabocchi (Fiola) and Eric Ziebold (Kinship) are semifinalists in the nationwide Best Chef category. There isn’t any local representation in the Outstanding Pastry Chef group. Just like last year, Rasika and Jaleo are being considered for Outstanding Restaurant, and Rasika owner Ashok Bajaj is up for Outstanding Restaurateur. Meanwhile, Fiola and Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier are in the running for Outstanding Service. Komi is being considered for Outstanding Wine Program, while Kevin Tien of Himitsu is a semifinalist in the Rising Star Chef of the Year category.

Plenty of local chefs are in the running for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, including Amy Brandwein (Centrolina), Tom Cunanan (Bad Saint), Mike Friedman (All-Purpose Pizzeria), Seng Luangrath (Thip Khao), Cedric Maupillier (Convivial), and Nobu Yamazaki (Sushi Taro).