|The local nominees for Best Chef: South in the 2012 James Bear Foundation Awards.|
In the category of Outstanding Chef, Donald Link has been nominated with other industry heavyweights such as David Chang, Gary Danko, and Paul Kahan. I'd say that Chef Link deserves the award based solely on the spaghetti with guanciale and fried poached egg at Herbsaint, but no one asked my opinion. For the fourth year in a row, Chef Sue Zemanick from Gautreau's is nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year, an honor bestowed upon chefs 30 years of age and under. Chef Sue is aged out of this category after this year, so let's hope that she brings home the prize.
But the most watched contest of the evening will likely be in the category of Best Chef: South, where 4 of the 5 nominees hail from New Orleans. Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery, John Harris of Lilette and Bouligny Tavern, Tory McPhail of Commander's Palace, and Alon Shaya of Domenica have all been nominated for the award, along with some guy from Birmingham. And no disrespect to Chris Hastings and the Hot and Hot Fish Club, but losing this one tonight would be more disappointing than Union Rags' performance at the Derby on Saturday.
In today's poll in the top left hand corner, you can cast your vote for the New Orleans chef most deserving of the award for Best Chef: South. At the time of publishing, Vegas has Alon Shaya listed as the 5 to 2 favorite. You can catch the awards live today at 5:00CST on streaming video.