The annual spring heat check was released today as the James Beard Foundation announced its semifinalists in the chef and restaurant categories. Three Kansas City chefs — Nick Wesemann, Howard Hanna and Patrick Ryan — are semifinalists. Bluestem, the Westport restaurant co-owned by Megan & Colby Garrelts is a semifinalist in the Outstanding Restaurant category. Colby Garrelts won the Best Chef: Midwest title in 2013.
“We’re truly honored. It’s an unexpected testament to our leadership and team through the years,” Garrelts say. “We’re looking forward to the awards in Chicago as we have been asked to cook at the awards gala this year too.”
In the Outstanding Pastry Chef category, Nick Wesemann of The American Restaurant is nominated for the second straight year. It’s an exclusive list with only 20 pastry chefs named for the entire country.
“I’m excited to have made the long list a second time. Once again there are some very well known chefs and restaurants on that list. I’m honored to be listed among them,” Wesemann says.
The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange’s Howard Hanna and Port Fonda’s Patrick Ryan are semifinalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category. Hanna was a semifinalist in 2014, alongside Room 39’s Ted Habiger.
“It’s crazy and I’m flattered to be nominated alongside some of my very good friends here in Kansas City,” Ryan says. “A very special thanks goes out to the guys in the Port Fonda kitchen that do it day in and day out.”
The finalists will be announced on March 14 with the 2015 winners being honored on May 4 at a gala and ceremony in Chicago.[Image via Facebook: Bluestem]