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The James Beard foundation just dropped its long list of semifinalists for the 2017 award season. Unsurprisingly, Oregon crushed it, beating out last year's record with 19 nominations, 16 of which belong to Portland establishments. Portland earned more nominations in the "Best Chef: Northwest" category than any other city (eight, compared to Seattle's seven).

Some newcomers to the list include two of Portland Monthly’s 2016 Restaurants of the YearHan Oak for “Best New Restaurant” and Mae's Maya Lovelace for “Rising Star Chef of the Year.” A long-deserved call-out spotlights Castagna restaurateur Monique Siu for “Outstanding Restaurateur,” known for her co-ownership of Portland’s most mythical restaurant, Zefiro, and for shepherding talents Kevin Gibson, Matthew Lightner, and Justin Woodward (also a nominee) through her Southeast modernist stronghold.

Another sleeper nomination: Ha VL’s matriarch of Vietnamese soup, Ha (Christina) Luu for “Best Chef Northwest.” 

Check back on March 15, when the finalists are announced ahead of the May 1 award ceremony.

Best Chef: Northwest

Jose Chesa, Ataula

Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox

Ha (Christina) Luu, Ha VL

Joshua McFadden, Ava Gene’s 

Katy Millard, Coquine 

Sarah Pliner, Aviary

Ryan Roadhouse, Nodoguro

Justin Woodward, Castagna

Best New Restaurant

Han Oak

Outstanding Baker

Ken Forkish, Ken’s Artisan Bakery

Outstanding Bar Program

Clyde Common

Outstanding Chef 

Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon

Outstanding Pastry Chef 

Kristen Murray, Maurice

Outstanding Restaurateur

Monique Siu, Castagna

Outstanding Service

The Painted Lady Restaurant

Outstanding Wine Program

Jory at the Allison Inn & Spa

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

Greg Lorenz, SakéOne 

Steve McCarthy, Clear Creek Distillery 

Rising Star Chef of the Year 

Maya Lovelace, Mae

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