Chicagoans Land Several James Beard Nominations

Chicago's restaurant industry was well-represented among the 2014 James Beard Awards nominees.

And in perhaps a nod to Chicago's overall strength, the full list of national nominees were announced Tuesday morning at Publican restaurant in the West Loop.

Publican's owner, Donnie Madia of One Off Hospitality Group, was nominated in the Outstanding Restaurateur category, which recognizes "a working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship." Madia is also behind Blackbird and Avec. It's the second year in a row he's nomininated in this category.

Chicago's Spiaggia received a nomination in the Outstanding Restaurant category, which recognized restaurants that "serve as a national standard-bearer for consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service."

Four local chefs will battle it out in the Best Chef: Great Lakes category, which also includes chefs from Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The local nominees are Dave Beran (Next), Curtis Duffy (Grace), Paul Virant (Vie Restaurant, Western Springs) and Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia).

Wicker Park's The Violet Hour is in the running for Outstanding Bar Program and Rick Bayless' Topolobampo will do battle in the Outstanding Service category.

Two local chefs were nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year, Jimmy Bannos Jr. (The Purple Pig) and David Posey (Blackbird). This category recognizes chefs aged "30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come."

Dana Cree of Chicago's Blackbird restaurant is up for Outstanding Pastry Chef and the architectural firm behind Grace restaurant is in the running for Outstanding Restaurant Design.

The awards ceremony will be held in New York City in May.

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