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Pittsburgh Chefs And Restaurants Among Semifinalists For 2018 James Beard Awards

Keith Srakocic
AP Photo
Patti Tavelli, left, and Kelly Smith talk during the tasting session after a tour of the distillery at Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. Wigle Whisky's owners are semifinalists for a James Beard Award.

Seven Pittsburgh chefs and establishments have been named semifinalists for this year's national James Beard Foundation awards.

Whitfield, the restaurant inside the Ace Hotel in East Liberty, houses semifinalists in two categories: Casey Renee for Outstanding Pastry Chef, and Executive Chef Bethany Zozula for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Wei Zhu, the chef and owner of Chengdu Gourmet in Squirrel Hill, is also nominated for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Legume Bistro in Oakland, which celebrated 10 years of operations last May, is a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant.  

Rick DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik of Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group are nominated in the category of Outstanding Restauranter. The pair own and operate Butcher and the Rye, Meat & Potatoes, Tako and Pork & Beans, all located downtown.

Meredith Meyer Grelli and Alex Grelli, the couple behind the Strip District's Wigle Whiskey, are semifinalists for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. 

Becca Hegarty, the chef behind Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette in Bloomfield, is nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year for the second year in a row. She is the former chef du cuisine of The Cafe Carnegie in Oakland under executive chef Sonja Finn, who is running for City Council.

The final nominees will be announced in Philadelphia on March 14. The winners will be announced at the end of April.