Last month, The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange’s Howard Hanna and Room 39’s Ted Habiger were named semi-finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category and The American’s Nick Wesemann was nominated in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category.
A pair of St. Louis chefs — Niche’s Gerard Craft and Sidney Street Cafe’s Kevin Nashan — join Sanford’s Justin Aprahamian (Milwaukee), The Bachelor Farmer’s Paul Berglund (Minneapolis), and Heartland Restaurant & Farm’s Lenny Russo (St. Paul) as finalists for Best Chef: Midwest. The Outstanding Pastry Chef finalists are Dominique Ansel (the inventor of the Cronut), Dana Cree, Belinda Leong, Dahlia Narvaez, and Christina Tosi.
Chef Colby Garrelts, who co-owns Bluestem and Rye with wife and pastry chef Megan Garrelts, won the Best Chef: Midwest category last year. Bluestem is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month with a 10-course meal culled from dishes they’ve prepared in the past. As The Kansas City Star reported, they will close for a major renovation on March 30, before reopening May 2. The 2014 James Beard Awards ceremony is May 5.