Courtesy of James Beard Awards

In December, Pittsburgh nabbed the No. 1 spot in Zagat‘s list of the “Top 17 Food Cities of 2015,” in January, Saveur called Pittsburgh a “beer and spirits destination,” and in February, Forbes declared that “it’s an exciting time to eat in Pittsburgh right now.”

The latest national attention focused on Pittsburgh’s culinary scene comes with today’s highly anticipated announcement of the semifinalists for the 2016 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards.

Pittsburgh landed three places on the esteemed list of semifinalists:

  • Morcilla, for Best New Restaurant
  • Justin Severino, Cure, for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Rick Easton, Bread and Salt, for Outstanding Baker
Courtesy James Beard Awards
Courtesy James Beard Awards

In 2014, Severino—who opened Morcilla in December of 2015—was also named a semifinalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic by the James Beard Foundation, and won the award for the People’s Best New Chef for the Mid-Atlantic region from Food & Wine magazine.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards are considered the leading honor in the world of food and beverage.

Categories range from Outstanding Restaurant and Rising Star Chef of the Year, to Outstanding Bar Program, and also include Best Chef Awards representing different geographic regions in the U.S.

The final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominations for James Beard’s Book, Journalism, Broadcast Media, and Restaurant Design Awards, will be announced on Tuesday, March 15th in San Francisco and via Twitter.

The 2016 James Beard Awards Gala will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 2nd. The Foundation’s Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner will take place at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Tuesday, April 26th.

See the entire list of semifinalists in all categories, and learn more about how they are selected.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.