Culinary excellence in NOLA

26 Feb

It should be no surprise that New Orleans does well when it comes to recognizing culinary excellence. If there are two things they do right in the Crescent City, it’s eat and drink.

A few days back, the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2013 awards. According to this story at, 11 New Orleans restaurants, bars and chefs have made this cut.

Here is the complete list of 2013 James Beard Award semifinalists.

We visited two award nominees in our most recent trip to the Crescent City: Brigtsen’s, nominated for Outstanding Service; and Donald Link, nominated as Outstanding Chef at Herbsaint but also the man behind Cochon and Cochon Butcher.

One New Orleans restaurant was named a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant: Borgne. I’ll have to add this to my bucket list.

And Emeril Lagasse will receive this year’s humanitarian of the year award. We visited Emeril’s NOLA restaurant this trip (Tip: order the fried chicken! Sorry, mom, Emeril’s version just edges out your’s. ) And we’ve eaten at the eponymous Emeril’s in the past.

Interesting side notes:

  • San Francisco had 24 make the semifinalist cut. I knew I liked that town!
  • New York City had, by my count, 36 semifinalists. The best chef semifinalists are nominated by region, but NYC is a region of its own. Twenty NYC chefs made this category alone.
  • George Formaro, the man behind Centro, Django, South Union Bread and others in Des Moines, made the cut for Outstanding Restaurateur. Centro is our tried and true lunch-time stop after the Des Moines marathon every October.

Bon appetit!

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