Maneki, Local Chefs Make the Beard Award Finals

The final nominations for the 2008 James Beard Awards have been announced, and many Seattle restaurants are on the list.

Maneki was nominated for (or awarded -- I'm not sure yet) one of the Beard Foundation's annual "America's Classics" awards. As the judges write, "With a rich history that stretches over a century -- it has been around through both world wars, Japanese internment, and has even seen one of its former dishwashers become the Prime Minister of Japan -- Maneki is the only surviving restaurant from Seattle’s once-bustling Japantown. Comfort food dishes like agedashi tofu and takoyaki share the menu with sushi and sashimi, satisfying homesick Japanese locals and introducing a new generation to traditional Japanese cooking."

Tom Douglas has been nominated for the "Outstanding Restaurateur" award.

The Canlis family has been nominated for "Outstanding Service."

In the Pacific Northwest Best Chef category, Seattle chefs won four of the top five slots: Maria Hines (Tilth), Holly Smith (Café Juanita), Ethan Stowell (Union), and Jason Wilson (Crush).

Congratulations to all and good luck at the ceremonies, which take place June 6 in New York! These awards are very much deserved.

Congratulations also to local food writer Sara Dickerman for her Slate article on movie portrayals of chefs, and a special woo-hoo! to my old colleague Eliza Strickland, whose SF Weekly expose on the California Culinary Academy should be read by every prospective cooking-school student.

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