By John Mariani
As the 2012 James Beard Restaurant Awards (on May 4 and 7) approach, here's my third annual handicapping of who I think will win and why.
It's a good year overall for newcomer nominees - chefs who, under the awards' guidelines, "have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Each candidate may be employed by any kind of dining establishment and must have been a working chef for at least the past five years. The three most recent years must have been spent in the region where the chef is presently working."
The regional awards are the toughest to predict because, quite frankly, so few in so many regions are known at all outside their respective cities. In the national categories, like Restaurant of the Year and Outstanding Pastry Chef, the nominees are supposed to be "national standard-bearers," which of course favors chefs in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and SanRead More »from The James Beard Awards Predictions