Earlier today, the James Beard Foundation announced its 2017 roster of restaurant and chef semifinalists, four of which are Colorado contenders. Frasca Food and Wine, a perennial favorite of the Foundation and a seven-time nominee and two-time winner in the Best Chef: Southwest and Best Wine Program categories, is vying for this year’s Outstanding Restaurant title, a category that trumpets 20 restaurants that zigzag from New York to Chicago.
That nomination is certainly a boon for Boulder, but what about Denver? Despite the city’s tremendous growth spurt, seemingly endless avalanche of openings and confetti of chef and restaurant accolades—local and national—the Beard Foundation snubbed the state’s culinary talent in just about every other division, save for one: Best Chef: Southwest. Still, a trio of local kitchen magicians made the cut: Steven Redzikowski of Acorn; Eric Skokan of Black Cat Farm-Table-Bistro in Boulder; and Alex Seidel of Mercantile Dining & Provision. Redzikowski, who’s also the co-owner and chef of Brider and Boulder’s Oak at Fourteenth, along with Seidel, chef-owner of Fruition, were semifinalists in the same category last year, while this marks the first (much-deserved) nomination for Skokan, a cookbook author and farmer who also presides over Bramble & Hare, his second Boulder restaurant. The Colorado chefs are squaring off against stiff competition from Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas, the latter of which boasts 11 rivals.
The finalists in the restaurant and chef categories, as well as the nominations for the Foundation’s book, journalism, broadcast media, and restaurant design awards, will be announced on Wednesday, March 15, in Los Angeles (you can watch it live on the Foundation’s Facebook page and Tweeter feed). Then, on Monday, May 1, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Foundation will reveal the winners. To view the entire list of semifinalists, visit the James Beard Foundation website.
By Lori Midson