None of Maine’s five 2015 James Beard Foundation Award nominees will be coming home from Chicago with the coveted medallion.

Celebrity chef Alton Brown hosted the 25th annual Restaurant and Chef Awards, often called “the Oscars of the food world,” at the Lyric Opera in Chicago on Monday night – the first time the event has been held outside of New York City.

Maine was represented by finalists in three of 20 award categories.

Central Provisions in Portland was nominated for Best New Restaurant, one of seven nominees from around the country. Chef Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan in Brunswick and Bao Bao in Portland was one of six nominees for Rising Star Chef of the Year; she was a semifinalist in the same category last year. Chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley of Eventide Oyster Co., Hugo’s, and The Honey Paw – all in Portland – were first-time nominees for Best Chef: Northeast; Masa Miyake of Portland’s Miyake and Pai Men Miyake was up for the same award – he was also nominated in 2014.

At the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast and Journalism Dinner on April 24 in New York City, Kathy Gunst of South Berwick won an award in the Home Cooking category for “Cabbage Craft,” published in Eating Well Magazine.

Maine’s most recent James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award winner was chef Melissa Kelly of Primo in Rockland, who brought home the medallion for Best Chef: Northeast in 2013. Kelly was one of the celebrated chefs cooking at the reception following Monday night’s award ceremony.


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