The James Beard Awards are a big deal, and for the past few years, Asheville area chefs have been nominated as semifinalists. None have yet to break through. Will this be the year?
This year, Cynthia Wong of Rhubarb restaurant in Asheville was nominated in the Pastry Chef category, a category she’s been nominated in before. Chef John Fleer opened Rhubarb two years ago to rave reviews. (He was nominated for a James Beard award the past couple of years.) Wong joined Rhubarb last year after having won numerous awards, including being named one of Tasting Table’s “Best Pastry Chefs” and named one of “Five Chefs to Watch” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Brian Canipelli of Cucina 24 was nominated in the Best Chef: Southeast category. Canipelli opened Cucina 24 in 2008 and has been doing outstanding work there ever since. Canipelli is truly an Asheville-trained chef, having worked at Savoy, Table and Rezaz in Asheville before going off on his own.
Nate Allen of Knife and Fork in Spruce Pine was also nominated in the Best Chef: Southeast category. Allen open Knife and Fork with his wife, Wendy, seven years ago and has also been winning praise ever since. Spruce Pine is a small town off the beaten path, but folks have been finding their way there to sample Allen’s farm-to-table greatness.
Click here for the full list of all the James Beard 2016 nominees.
Cucina 24 has been off the chain good lately!