Another year, another no win for our Central Florida area chefs. As reported by Scott Joseph and Tampa Bay Tribune’s Jeff Houck, who are both judges for the James Beard award, none of the final five finalists for Best Chef of the South even came from Florida. Four of the finalists hail from New Orleans and one from Birmingham, Alabama. The final nominees were announced live yesterday at The Venetian in Las Vegas. The James Beard Award nominees from Central Florida, Chefs James and Julie Petrakis of The Ravenous Pig, Chef Henry Salgado of Spanish River Grill, and Chef Scott Hunnel of Victoria and Albert’s, have all been snubbed. It really is frustrating.
Maybe the judges at the James Beard look down on Orlando or don’t believe that good food can be had here. Orlando is more than just a town with Disney / Universal theme park food. Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort is just an example of what great food exists even within the limits of the theme parks. The City Beautiful has a flavor and a foodie culture that is becoming more sophisticated each day. When will the time come Orlando have its day, to stand among the greats?
The below are the final nominees for Best Chef of the South
BEST CHEF: SOUTH
Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans
John Harris, Lilette, New Orleans
Chris Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, Ala.
Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace, New Orleans
Alon Shaya, Domenica, New Orleans
For the Complete List of James Beard Award Final Nominees for 2012 click here. Winners will be announced May 4, 2012.