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Usual Suspects Among Local Food Pros Nominated for 2011 James Beard Awards

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They're sort of the Oscars of the food world: The nominees for the 2011 James Beard Awards, which honor chefs, pastry chefs, restaurants, food writing, food personalities, and cookbooks from around the nation were announced today.

Los Angeles makes a decent showing in the star-studded categories in which we were eligible. Okay, so none of our restaurants are up for the big "Outstanding" awards for the restaurant proper, service, or wine program. And, well, okay, we didn't really make any waves or ruffle any feathers in the rest of the categories; the food pros representing L.A. are names you've likely heard (a few times) before.

It's nice to see some of the city's best bets for great dining up for honors, like Providence and Luques, and Mozza for their incredible desserts (hello, Butterscotch Budino). Los Angeles Magazine's Patric Kuh had foodies' tongues wagging with his pointed piece about Rick Bayless' Red O, which is what makes his nod for writing much appreciated. And of course, no one can talk about food writing in Los Angeles without invoking The Man himself, Jonathan Gold, who is up for a couple of Beards himself this year. Congratulations to all.

Here are the categories in which a local chef or writer is nominated:

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OUTSTANDING CHEF
José Andrés, minibar by José Andrés, Washington, D.C.
Gary Danko, Restaurant Gary Danko, San Francisco
Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles
Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Chicago
Charles Phan, The Slanted Door, San Francisco

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF
Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Café, Boston
Patrick Fahy, Blackbird, Chicago
Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Angela Pinkerton, Eleven Madison Park, NYC
Mindy Segal, Mindy's HotChocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar, Chicago

BEST CHEF: PACIFIC
Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA
Daniel Patterson, COI, San Francisco
Richard Reddington, Redd, Yountville, CA
Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco

MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award: Recognizes a single article of exceptional literary merit pertaining to food and/or drink published in any medium.
Colman Andrews (Departures), Jonathan Gold (LA Weekly), Patric Kuh (Saveur)

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award: Recognizes discerning criticism of enduring value which contributes to the larger discourse on cuisine or restaurants.

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Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl (Minnesota Monthly)
"The Kids Are All Right," "Island Adventure," "Heart Warming"

Patric Kuh (Los Angeles)
"Animal Magnetism," "Making Their Move," "Time for a Redo?"

Adam Platt (New York)
"Locavorism Grows Up," "Pizza à la McNally," "Chang Heads North"

Food-related Feature: Recognizes excellence in a single food- or drink- related article published in any medium that demonstrates enterprise, curiosity, and rigor.

Jonathan Gold (LA Weekly), Dan Koeppel (Saveur), Corby Kummer (Theatlantic.com)

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The writing and broadcast awards will be announced May 6, and the restaurant and chef awards presented at a gala on May 9th, both in New York City. HuffPo has the full list of nominations; the James Beard site, much like a good restaurant on a bad day, is suffering from server overload.