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The Finalists for the 2009 James Beard Awards were announced yesterday, and the prestigious awards are set to be handed out on May 4th at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. However, if you’re one of those people that likes to see every film before the Oscars, here’s the list of finalists so you can spend the next six weeks traveling the country trying to dine at as many of these restaurants as possible.

Outstanding Restaurateur Award

“A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Candidates must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past 10 years.”

Tom Douglas
Tom Douglas Restaurants
Seattle

Keith McNally
Balthazar, Lucky Strike, Morandi, Pastis, Pravda, and Schiller’s Liquor Bar
NYC

Richard Melman
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
Chicago

Drew Nieporent
Myriad Restaurant Group
NYC

Stephen Starr
Starr Restaurants
Philadelphia

Outstanding Chef Award

“A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Candidates must have been working as chefs for at least the past 5 years.”

José Andrés
Minibar
Washington, D.C.

Dan Barber
Blue Hill
NYC

Tom Colicchio
Craft
NYC

Suzanne Goin
Lucques
Los Angeles

Paul Kahan
Blackbird
Chicago

Outstanding Restaurant Award

“A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard-bearer for consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Candidates must have been in operation for at least 10 or more consecutive years.”

Babbo
NYC
Chef/Owner: Mario Batali
Owner: Joe Bastianich

Boulevard
San Francisco
Chef/Owner: Nancy Oakes
Owner: Pat Kuleto

Fore Street
Portland, ME
Chef/Owner: Sam Hayward
Owner: Victor Leon and Dana Street

Highlands Bar & Grill
Birmingham, AL
Chef/Owner: Frank Stitt

Jean Georges
NYC
Chef/Owner: Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Owner: Phil Suarez

Rising Star Chef of the Year

“A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come.”

Nate Appleman
A16
San Francisco

Sean Brock
McCrady’s
Charleston, SC

Johnny Monis
Komi
Washington, D.C.

Gabriel Rucker
Le Pigeon
Portland, OR

Michael Solomonov
Zahav
Philadelphia

Sue Zemanick
Gautreau’s
New Orleans

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