But now is when things get serious, because just this afternoon the list of finalists in all categories was handed down during a ceremony in Portland. The JBF folks were tweeting the crap out of the whole thing, but I wanted to wait until I could offer up the entire list of local finalists in one convenient package.
Outstanding Restaurateur is the first place where we get a potential hometown winner, with Tom Douglas advancing alongside some serious heavy-hitters from all over the country.
For Outstanding Service, we've got Canlis, with brothers Brian and Mark going up against the likes of Emeril's, La Grenouille, Per Se, and Topolobampo. But then we've got no other scorers in the wine categories or Rising Star awards, and nothing at all for the locals until you get down into the regional faceoffs.
So for those of you who don't like math, that gives us four potential champions when the winners are announced on May 9--two in the big national categories and two in the regionals. If you want to see the full list of chef and restaurant finalists, I'd suggests reading it on eater.com, because, currently, it appears as though the James Beard Foundation's website is having a bit of a stroke--not a surprise what with half the food nerds in the country currently trying to get on and the other half frantically Tweetering congratulations to their favorites. When it recovers, the official JBF list can be found at jamesbeard.org.