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It’s a big day for a handful of Birmingham culinary professionals. Five chefs and one restaurant have been nominated as semifinalists for the James Beard Awards.
These awards are considered to be the highest honor for food and beverage professionals in America. This is an exciting time for the food scene in Birmingham and Alabama, and I am thrilled for these folks!
Without further adieu, here they are:
Dolester Miles, of Highlands Bar and Grill, was nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef. This is her fourth nomination as a semifinalist.
Last year, Miles went onto to become a finalist but did not win. If you have never tried her Coconut Pecan Cake, you are missing out on a slice of heaven. I am not even playing. Here’s to you, Ms. Miles!
Highlands Bar and Grill, the only Alabama restaurant to be nominated, is up for Outstanding Restaurant. This is Highlands’ eighth nomination, and I think this will be their moment to shine. Fingers crossed for Chef Frank Stitt and staff!
Four chefs from Alabama were nominated for Best Chef: South, with one from Homewood. They are:
- Timothy Hontzas, of Johnny’s, in Homewood
- David Bancroft, of Acre, in Auburn
- Bill Briand, of Fisher’s Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina, in Orange Beach
- Rob McDaniel, of SpringHouse, in Alexander City
A big congratulations, and good luck, ya’ll! We won’t find out who makes the cut until March 15, but I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as the finalists are announced that day.
The annual awards presented by the James Beard foundation recognize excellence and “celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone,” according to the JBF mission.