Photo by Alex Boerner
Octopus at Death & Taxes
This morning, the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists
for its 2016 James Beard Awards. Ashley Christensen leads North Carolina's copious nominees; the Raleigh chef's latest venture, Death & Taxes
, is among 25 finalists for "Best New Restaurant," while Christensen herself is up for "Outstanding Chef," in which she will square off against 19 others. Christensen won JBF's Best Chef Southeast in 2014.
Speaking of Best Chef Southeast, eight North Carolinians are among the finalists in this year's competition for that award: Standard Foods
' Scott Crawford, Herons
' Steven Devereaux Greene, Chef & the Farmer's Vivian Howard
, Cucina 24's Brian Canipelli, Mateo
's Matthew Kelly, Kindred's Joe Kindred, Knife and Fork's Nate Allen, and Panciuto
's Aaron Vandermark. North Carolina, then, has a forty percent chance of bringing home that prize—better than any other state.
Two bakers familiar with the competition, Scratch
's Phoebe Lawless and La Farm's Lionel Vatinet
, are up for this year's "Outstanding Baker" award. Vatinet and Lawless both vied for the same prize last year (New York's Jim Lahey ultimately won), and Lawless was a 2013 nominee for "Outstanding Pastry Chef."