2016 James Beard Award Semifinalists Announced

Russian River Brewing Company’s Vinnie Cilurzo, with wife Natalie, is a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional in the James Beard Foundation Awards.

Two Sonoma County men were among semifinalists announced Wednesday for the James Beard Foundation’s 2016 restaurant and chef awards. Russian River Brewing Co.’s Vinnie Cilurzo of Santa Rosa and Littorai Wines’ Ted Lemon of Sebastopol were among the 20 making the cut for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional.

About two dozen Bay Area restaurants and chefs were among the restaurant and chef semifinalists, with seven from the North Bay.

The final nominees in the 21 award categories for restaurants and chefs, as well as the nominations for Book, Journalism, Broadcast Media and Restaurant Design awards, will be announced March 14 in San Francisco.

Christopher Kostow, executive chef of The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, was named a semifinalist for Outstanding Chef, given to working chefs in America whose career has set a national industry standard.

Once again, Napa Valley and Monterey chef Cindy Pawlcyn was named a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur, given to working restaurateurs who set high national standards in operations and entrepreneurship.

Press in St. Helena, owned by Leslie Rudd, was a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Program.

Along with Cilurzo and Lemon, Miljenko Grigich of Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford and Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson Wines in Napa were named semifinalists for Outstanding Wine, Spirits for Beer Professional.

Three San Francisco eateries were semifinalists for Outstanding Restaurant: Acquarello, Foreign Cinema and Restaurant Gary Danko. San Francisco restaurauteur Michael Mina was a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur.

For Best Chef: West, seven Bay Area chefs were named as semifinalists: Matthew Accarrino of SPQR, Dominique Creen of Atelier Creen, Mourad Lahlou of Mourad, Corey Lee of Benu, Melissa Perello of Octavia and Joshua Skenes of Saison, all of San Francisco. James Syhabout of Commis in Oakland also was a semifinalist.

The James Beard Awards Gala will take place May 2 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, when the restaurant, chef and restaurant design awards will be announced. The James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast and Journalism awards will be announced from New York City on April 26.

For a complete list of semifinalists, go to jamesbeard.org/awards.