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James Beard 2014 Finalists Include Violet Hour, Blackbird

By Emily Morris | March 18, 2014 11:22am | Updated on March 18, 2014 12:16pm
 The James Beard award finalists were announced Tuesday morning.
James Beard Finalists
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CHICAGO — Nominees for the 2014 James Beard Awards, considered top honors in the culinary world, include the locals behind Blackbird, Grace and The Purple Pig, among other top Chicago foodie spots.

The finalists were announced Tuesday morning at The Publican in the West Loop.

Chicagoans nominated for the Best Chef: Great Lakes category include Next's Dave Beran, Grace's Curtis Duffy and Sepia's Andrew Zimmerman.

The Near North Italian spot Spiaggia was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant, while Wicker Park's The Violet Hour was nominated for Outstanding Bar Program.

Blackbird's Dana Cree was given a nod for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

Locals nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year were Jimmy Bannos Jr. of Downtown's The Purple Pig, and David Posey of West Loop's Blackbird.

Restaurant guru Donnie Madia, who oversees Blackbird, Publican, Nico Osteria and others, is a finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur.

Rick Bayless restaurant Topolobampo in River North was recognized with a nomination for Outstanding Service.

Inducted into the foundation's Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America, awarded to those who have made big contributions to the industry, was prolific local chef Paul Kahan.

West Loop's Grace was also nominated for design.

The winners of the James Beard Awards, often called the "Oscars of food," will be announced in New York City in May.

See the full list of nominees here.