Local chefs, restaurants get 7 James Beard Award nods

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
  • Lady of the House is the only MI restaurant listed as one of 28 Best New Restaurant semifinalists
  • James Rigato gets his third semifinalist nod for Best Chef: Great Lakes category
  • Pastry chef at Selden Standard Lena Sareini is listed semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year
  • Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor gets a nod for Outstanding Service

Seven Metro Detroit chefs or restaurants were listed as semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards, an esteemed group voted in by a 600-member panel of food experts from across the country.

Corktown’s Lady of the House is one of 28 restaurants – and the only one from Michigan – named as a semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant,” an award that is given to a business that opened in the calendar year before, and “is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.”

Lena Sareini, pastry chef at Detroit’s Selden Standard, at 3921 Second, is listed as a semifinalist for “Rising Star Chef of the Year.”

Lady of the House, which opened at 1426 Bagley in September, is led by chef Kate Williams.

Lena Sareini, pastry chef at Detroit’s Selden Standard, at 3921 Second, is listed as a semifinalist for “Rising Star Chef of the Year.” This accolade is considered for a chef age 30 or younger who is making an impact on the industry.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen, at 422 Detroit St. in Ann Arbor, was named a semifinalists for “Outstanding Service,” an award given to a restaurant that has been open for at least five years and has a high standard of hospitality and service.

For the second year in a row Lisa Ludwinski of Detroit’s Sister Pie, 8066 Kercheval, is an “Outstanding Baker” semifinalists.

Also for the second year, cocktail lounge Standby (225 Gratiot, Detroit) gets a semifinalist nod for Outstanding Bar Program.

James Rigato of Hazel Park’s Mabel Gray, 23825 John R, was listed for the third year as a semifinalists in the “Best Chefs: Great Lakes” category.

This year he’s joined by Thomas Lents for his work at his chef’s table at the Apparatus Room inside the new Detroit Foundation Hotel which opened in May, at 250 W. Larned. A Michelin-starred chef, Lents has been a James Beard Award finalist in the past and came back to his native Michigan after working in Chicago.

James Rigato, chef at The Root in White Lake Township, is one of 16 national chefs competing for the title of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Rigato and Lents are two of 20 chefs named in the Great Lakes category of “Best Chef,” which is broken up into 10 regions. As usual, the Great Lakes section is dominated by Chicago chefs.

Metro Detroit was shut out in the categories of Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Pastry Chef, Outstanding Restaurant, Outstanding Restaurateur, Outstanding Wine Program and Outstanding Wine Spirits or Beer Professional.

This list of semifinalists will be narrowed down to final nominees on March 14. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The past few years Metro Detroit restaurants have been named in the semifinalist pools, but not in the final list of nominees.


Twitter: @melodybaetens