Imagine being able to nominate your favorite actor for an Oscar. That’s more or less what’s happening with the James Beard Awards, where organizers now invite public votes on who should be considered among the best chefs and restaurateurs in the country. Critics still submit their own nominations and panels of experts still make the final decisions, but at least you’ve got a chance to put your support behind your favorites or bring the attention of the judges to underrated or under-the-radar people and places. (I’ve always felt Seattle gets shorted in the national “Best Pastry Chef” category — we have tons of talent, but few finalists.) The deadline to enter is Dec. 31, and you can submit names after creating a free account here. Who’s on your list?