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March 19, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Local chefs and Times writer named James Beard finalists

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Watching the nominations for this year’s James Beard journalism awards, the Oscars of the food world, I was delighted to see that our own Maureen O’Hagen is a finalist in the “health and well being” category for her special Seattle Times report on childhood obesity, “Feeling the Weight.” Former Seattle Weekly restaurant critic Jason Sheehan is a finalist in the “food, culture, and travel” category, and Seattle writer-photographer Christopher Boffoli was nominated in the humor department for his “Disparity” series at thekitchn.com.

In the cookbook awards, finalists with local connections include Nathan Myhrvold‘s Modernist Cuisine, which has been called the most important cookbook since Escoffier (conflict alert: I was an editorial contributor to the book, albeit a very small cog in a very great centrifuge), and Bitters, by former Seattle resident Brad Thomas Parsons.

For the restaurant awards, several Seattle chefs (though not enough, we thought) were named as semifinalists; far fewer (really not enough, we think) made it to the finalist round. Matt Dillon of Sitka and Spruce and Jason Franey of Canlis were finalists for Best Chef: Northwest, slightly outnumbered by Portland nominees Christopher Israel of Gruner, Naomi Pomeroy of Beast, and Cathy Whims of Nostrana. In the national honors, Tom Douglas is the only Seattle chef to survive the semifinals; he’s once again up for Outstanding Restaurateur.

Winners will be announced in New York City in May.

Photo courtesy of the James Beard Foundation

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