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Who’s Up for a James Beard Award?

Is Johnny Monis this year’s Rising Star Chef?

No matter how long the lines get each year for, say, one of Thomas Keller’s smoked-salmon cornets, or how many chefs awkwardly stare at their feet on the silly red carpet, the annual James Beard Awards ceremony remains one of the food world’s most hotly anticipated events. This spring’s gala—co-hosted by pocket-size Iron Chef Cat Cora, garlic-obsessed TV chef Emeril Lagasse, and as always, a random actor (last year, Kim Cattrall; this year, Stanley Tucci)—will be held May 4 at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall. The nominees were announced this morning—on Twitter, naturally—and we’re happy to report there are many locals to root for.

Johnny Monis, who opened Dupont Circle’s Komi five years ago at age 24, is once again nominated for Rising Star Chef. Among others, Monis is up against Sean Brock of Charleston’s McCrady’s, the restaurant where Monis started his career. The Best Chef Mid-Atlantic category is dominated by local folks: Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve, Peter Pastan of Obelisk and 2 Amys, and Vikram Sunderam of Rasika.

José Andrés’s new Los Angeles restaurant, the Bazaar, snagged a spot in the Best Restaurant Design category for its Philippe Stark interior and is up for one of the night’s biggest awards, Best New Restaurant. Meanwhile, Andrés himself could take home the coveted Outstanding Chef medal, as well as the Web/Radio award. Over in the journalism awards, held separately, the Washington Post earned applause for Best Newspaper Food Section, and its critic, Tom Sietsema, has a shot at both Best Restaurant Reviews and Best Newspaper Feature About Restaurants and/or Chefs.More>> Best Bites Blog | Food & Dining | Restaurant Finder
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