WEST LOOP — Chicago's hottest chefs and restaurants once again are hoping to snag James Beard Awards this year. On Wednesday, the James Beard Foundation announced the finalists.
Here are Chicago's 2017 Beard Award nominees:
Outstanding Baker: Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread
Best Chef Great Lakes (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio): Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice; Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde; Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute; Lee Wolen, Boka; and Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria
Outstanding Restaurant: Topolobampo
Outstanding Restaurateur: Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group (Boka, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro, and others)
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Jenner Tomaska, Next
Restaurant Design 76 Seats & Over: AvroKO Design Group, Momotaro
TV Segment on Non-Food Show: ABC Chicago's "The Hungry Hound" hosted by Steve Dolinsky
The awards, which honor the world's best chefs and restaurants, are considered the Oscars of the restaurant industry. The 2017 winners will be announced at a gala event set for May 1 at Chicago's Lyric Opera House. Jesse Tyler Ferguson of ABC's award-winning "Modern Family" will host.
This is the third year the Beard Foundation has held its award ceremony in Chicago. During Wednesday's nominee announcement, the foundation praised the city's "creative, innovative and amazingly talented chef community."
Chef Grant Achatz accepted the 2016 James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant on behalf of the entire Alinea team, and Curtis Duffy of Grace restaurant received a 2016 James Beard Award as Best Chef Great Lakes. Chicago's Land and Sea Dept. and Mode Carpentry were honored for best restaurant design for Cherry Circle Room at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel.