Image courtesy James Beard Foundation
For food professionals and enthusiasts alike, February is an exciting time. It's when the annual James Beard Awards announce semifinalists, calling attention to the country's best chefs, food writers and educators. And for those in Richmond, it's been exciting the last few years running: In recent history, there's been at least one Richmond-area chef who makes the semifinalists list, and this year, there are three: Brittanny Anderson of Metzger Bar & Butchery, who garnered a nomination for the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category, and Evrim and Evin Dogu of Sub Rosa Bakery, semifinalists in the Outstanding Baker field.
Anderson says she learned the news this morning while in a meeting: "I just ran around the restaurant and screamed." She first cooked at the distinguished James Beard House — the iconic New York City event space for the James Beard Foundation — as an employee of Northern Spy Food Co. in 2009 or 2010, she says, after graduating from the French Culinary Institute. "The list of chefs who get a nod from them is an amazing list to be a part of," Anderson says. "I was with Lee [Gregory, of The Roosevelt] when he found out he was nominated, and it's just a huge honor. Just to know they know who I am is exciting."
In the semifinalists list, the Dogu siblings and Anderson are joined by fellow Virginians Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge Cider and Jim Law of Linden Vineyards — both nominated in the Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional category — and Ian Boden of Staunton's The Shack and Tarver King of Lovettsville's The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, who are also nominated in the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category.
The James Beard Foundation will announce the year's final nominees on Wednesday, March 15, and the winners will be declared at the 2017 James Beard Awards Gala on May 1 in Chicago.
"It's a dream come true," Anderson says. "It's what I've worked for my whole career, and it's awesome."
Update: After its initial announcement, the Beard Foundation updated Sub Rosa's semifinalist nomination to include Evin Dogu, co-owner and pastry chef of Sub Rosa Bakery. This post has been updated to reflect this.
Correction: This post previously stated Anderson attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, when in fact she attended the French Culinary Institute. The story has been updated.