Nashville News: 3 Nashville James Beard Semi-Finalists

The Tennessean :: Jim Myers :: February 18, 2015
Strategic Hospitality

Though their hopes might be encased in ice right now, some Nashville restaurateurs and chefs are basking in the glow of recognition.

The James Beard Foundation released the first round of nominations for their coveted chef and restaurant awards Wednesday. Affectionately called the “long list,” these are the semifinalists who will soon be hoping for that ticket to Chicago, which will host this year’s awards ceremony.
Representing Nashville in two of the national-level categories, which is high cotton just to get on these lists, are Benjamin and Max Goldberg of Strategic Hospitality. They made the list for Outstanding Restaurateurs for their eclectic collection of eateries, including the Catbird Seat, Patterson House, Merchant’s, Pinewood Social and Paradise Park.
Patterson House also got a national nod on the Outstanding Bar Program list.
While this isn’t the first time one of the Goldbergs’ restaurants has been nominated — The Catbird Seat was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant — Ben Goldberg says the personal recognition is a huge honor.
“It’s massive,” says Goldberg, who hadn’t even seen the full list yet but was dealing with a text avalanche on his phone. “I think, to be in that kind of company with the other nominees, it shows what we’ve known about, but now Nashville is being paid attention to from the outside. I also think this nomination is not just us, it reflects our city as a whole.”
In a bit of a surprise, given our it-list mania, only one Nashville chef made the regional list for Best Chef: Southeast. Coming as no surprise to anybody who has followed the process over the past few years, yes, it’s City House chef/owner Tandy Wilson.
Practically a perennial favorite, this is Wilson’s eighth time to make the long list, and if he makes it to the finals, it will be his third time. We’ll just have to wait and see how much charm he’s sporting when the five finalists in each category are announced on March 24.
Wilson’s taking it with his typical laid-back demeanor.
“It’s taken eight years to where I can finally have fun with it,” he said. Then quickly added, “I think it’s wrong that Phil is not on the list. It’s crazy.”
Wilson is referring to fellow Germantown chef Philip Krajeck of Rolf and Daughters, but his absence from the ballot is likely due more to the fact that he hasn’t been in operation for more than three years in this region.
Other chefs with Nashville ties include Sean Brock (Husk, Charleston, S.C.) and Donald Link (Herbsaint, New Orleans) for the coveted Outstanding Chef award. Brock has a Husk outpost here on Rutledge Hill, and Link is bringing his Cochon Butcher concept to Germantown later this year.
Nick Pihakis, founder of Jim ‘N Nicks BBQ, was also nominated in the Outstanding Restaurateur category.

News Source: The Tennessean


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