The preliminary ballot for the James Beard Awards is out and local chefs Scott Hunnel, Victoria & Albert's, and Kevin Fonzo, K Restaurant, are on it. The judges will now whittle down the long list to five nominees in each category. Hunnel has appeared on the long list before; this is Fonzo's first nod. No one from Central Florida has made it to the final five.
The long list also includes Tom Gray, the talented chef of Bistro Aix in Jacksonville; Philippe Ruiz, Palme d'Or at the Biltmore, Coral Gables; Jeanie Roland, The Perfect Caper, Punta Gorda; Michael Schwartz, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami; Kris Wessel, Red Light Little River, Miami; Dean James Max, 3030 Ocean at Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale; Jose Martinez, Maison Blanche, Longboat Key; Philip Krajeck, Fish Out of Water at WaterColor Inn & Resort, Santa Rosa Beach; and Zach Bell, Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court, Palm Beach.
In addition, Hedy Goldsmith, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, is nominated for Best Pastry Chef, and Sam Gorenstein, BLT Steak at the Betsy Hotel, Miami Beach, is on the long list for Rising Star, a category limited to newbies under 30.
The winners of this year's James Beard Awards will be announced in a ceremony at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall on May 3d.