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February 16, 2017

James Beard Awards name 12 semifinalists in Maine

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Cara Stadler, owner and chef of Tao Yuan in Brunswick, is among 12 Maine semifinalists announced Wednesday in the 2017 James Beard Awards competition.

Twelve Maine chefs and restaurants have been named semifinalists for the 2017 James Beard Awards.

The James Beard Foundation announced its list on Wednesday of the semifinalists who were selected from more than 24,000 online entries nationwide.

Finalists for all award categories will be announced on March 15. Winners of the 2017 James Beard Media Awards will be announced on April 25, and winners of the remaining awards will be announced at the James Beard Foundation Awards Gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on May 1.

Here are Maine's contenders:

Best new restaurant: Drifters Wife, Portland. Recognizes a restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award "that already displays excellence in food, beverage and service and is likely to make a significant impact in years to come."

Outstanding baker: Alison Pray, Standard Baking Co., Portland. Recognizes a chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries, or desserts in a retail bakery and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a baker or pastry chef for at least five years.

Outstanding bar program: The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, Portland. Recognizes a restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits and/or beer service.

Outstanding pastry chef: Ilma Lopez, Piccolo, Portland. Recognizes a chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

Outstanding restaurant: Chase's Daily, Belfast, and Fore Street, Portland. Recognizes a restaurant that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service. Must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.

Outstanding wine, spirits or beer professional: Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland. Recognizes a beer, wine, or spirits professional who has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick. Recognizes a chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Best Chef Northeast (Conn., Mass., Maine, N.H., N.Y., R.I., Vt.): Brian Hill, Francine Bistro, Camden; Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain, Camden; Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki's Sushi Bar, Rockland; Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland.

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