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Today, the James Beard Foundation has announced its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 28th annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Out of more than 20,000 online submissions, a Madison based restaurant and 11 Wisconsin chefs have made it to the semifinals.

The James Beard Foundation Award recognizes culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and is a high honor mark in the food industry. Beard was a pioneer chef who was at the forefront of the culinary revolution that changed American food forever in the 1950’s. He died in 1985, and the James Beard Award was established five years later.

In mid-October, more than 20,000 entries were received by the Restaurant and Chef Committee. After reviewing each entry, semifinalists were nominated for each of the 21 Restaurant and Chef categories and a ballot was sent to an independent volunteer panel comprised of leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators and past James Beard Award winners.

Below are the semi-finalist nominees from Wisconsin.

L’Etoile: French-inspired American restaurant located in Madison. Nominated for the Outstanding Restaurant category.

Paul Bartolotta and Joe Bartolotta: Owners of the Bartolotta restaurant group (Harbor House, Lake Park Bistro, and more). Nominated for the Outstanding Restaurateur category.

Karen Bell: Owner and operator of Bavette La Boucherie (Milwaukee). Nominated for the Best Chef: Midwest category.

Justin Carlisle: Owner and operator of Ardent (Milwaukee). Nominated for the Best Chef: Midwest category.

Lisa Carlson: Chef of Chef Shack (Bay City). Nominated for the Best Chef: Midwest category.

Thomas Hauck: Chef and owner C. 1880 (Milwaukee). Nominated for the Best Chef: Midwest category.

Jonny Hunter: chef of Forequarter (Madison). Nominated for the Best Chef: Midwest category.

Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite: Owner and chef duo of Esterev (Milwaukee). Nominated for the Best Chef: Midwest category.

Jay Sparks: Chef of Lovechild (La Crosse). Nominated for the Best Chef: Midwest category.

Stefano Viglietti: Owner and operator of Trattoria Stefano (Sheboygan). Nominated for the Best Chef: Midwest category.

The semifinalists will be reduced down to five entries per category, and the finalists will be announced during a press release on March 14 in Philadelphia. The event will take place at 9:30 a.m. EST and will be streamed live online. Details for the live stream will be provided on the James Beard website at jamesbeard.org/awards.

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