Ready your pitchforks, Seattle: A screwup in this year's James Beard Awards voting process may leave local chefs Dustin Ronspies (Art of the Table) and Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi (Joule) out in the cold.
The James Beard Foundation announced semifinalists for its prestigious annual restaurant awards this week, after which its anonymous regional panelists, former winners, and committee members vote on who should move to the short list of nominees (announced March 15).
Today, though, the foundation sent out an apologetic email to anyone who has already voted since Wednesday, noting that "due to an error on the original ballot," semifinalists Ronspies, Yang, and Chirchi were "omitted" from the Best Chef Northwest category.
Unfortunately, if they want to revote, voters must recast their entire ballot; if they do nothing, their original selections will stand. It's possible many procrastinators wait until the deadline to pick nominees. Yet for anyone who was on the ball, the extra time and effort required to set things right suggests few will revote, and the three chefs affected are at a serious disadvantage.
Stay tuned for updates on this odd development.