The 2008 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards nominations, announced this week, have a local flavor with nods given to Philadelphia restaurateurs Marc Vetri and Jose Garces.
South Philly native Vetri, Jeff Benjamin, and chef Jeff Michaud opened Osteria, a traditional Italian restaurant, in February 2007 at 640 N. Broad St. It is nominated for the Best New Restaurant award.
Vetri's eponymous Center City restaurant, at 1312 Spruce St., was nominated for the Outstanding Service Award. This honor is presented to a restaurant that has been in operation for at least five years and demonstrates excellent service and hospitality.
Garces, chef-owner of Amada at 217 Chestnut St., is one of five finalists for the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic Award, one of 10 regional awards open to chefs that have worked for the last five years, with at least the last three years in the region.
More than 9,600 online entries were received for the 19 Restaurant and Chef Awards categories, including the 10 regional Best Chef categories, which were narrowed down to 20 semifinalists. The finalists were selected by a panel of 400 judges composed of regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation Award winners. This year's winners will be announced June 8 in New York.