The James Beard Award semifinalists were announced today, and we were happy to see the list featuring loads of Chicago chefs, including Stephanie Izard, Anthony Martin, and Dale Levitski. It was all good news, until we suddenly realized that a certain acclaimed restaurant was nowhere to be found. How had Alinea not even made the semifinals!? Was this the snub of the year? Actually, it seems like the restaurant already won just about every award it could.
Grant Achatz won Rising Star Chef of the Year (2003) while at Trio in Evanston. At Alinea he has picked up Best Chef: Great Lakes (2007), Outstanding Chef (2008), Cooking from a Professional Point of View (2009), and Outstanding Service Award, (2010). The one award it hasn’t yet won is Outstanding Restaurant, which the restaurant won’t even be eligible for until it has been open for ten years. We expect that to be sorted out in 2015.
2011 James Beard Foundation Awards: Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalist [James Beard Foundation]