This morning, the James Beard Foundation released its 2012 semifinalists list, and wouldn't you know it--Altura stands on top for Best New Restaurant. Seattle also represents with Zig Zag Cafe , nominated in the newly minted Outstanding Bar Program category. Holly Smith is up for Outstanding Chef, and Blaine Wetzel for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Last but not least among the national nominations, Canlis is up for Best Restaurant and Best Wine Program and Tom Douglas for Outstanding Restaurateur.
In the "Best Chef: Northwest" category, Seattle's chances for wresting the crown from Portland's Andy Ricker rest in the hands of Matt Dillon, Renee Erickson, Jason Franey, Ethan Stowell, Jason Stratton, Chris Ainsworth, Matt Costello, and Rachel Yang & Seif Chirchi. Let's hope the Seattle contenders fare better than last year, when our fair city was all but shut-out in the winner's circle. The official finalists will be announced during a ceremony in Las Vegas on March 19, and the winners announced May 7.
Update: Ronald Holden reminds us that Alex Golitzin of Quilceda Creek Vintners has been nominated in the Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional category.
· JBF Announces 2012 Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists [Eater National]
· All Previous James Beard Awards Coverage on Eater Seattle [-ESEA-]