Four area chefs are on the initial ballot for this year’s James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South Region. In a move I have not seen before, James and Julie Petrakis, co-chefs and co-owners of The Ravenous Pig, have been nominated jointly. James Petrakis is also currently a finalist in Food & Wine magazine’s poll for Best New Chef in the Gulf Coast region.
Scott Hunnel, executive chef at Victoris & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is once again a nominee, his third time on the long list. First time nominee Hari Pulapaka of Cress in Deland is the other local nominee. In all, eight Florida chefs have been named. Click this link to download a PDF of the entire list of James Beard Award nominees .
Regional judges will winnow the long list down to five finalists in each category. The finalists will be announced on March 21st and the winners will be named in a gala ceremony May 9 at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.