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Four Michigan chefs named James Beard semifinalists

Molly AbrahamSpecial to The Detroit News

Chefs from four Michigan restaurants have been named semifinalists for a 2015 James Beard award.

Garrett Lipar of Torino in Ferndale is the only Michigan semifinalist in the category of Rising Star of the Year. Semifinalists in the Best Chef: Great Lakes category are Myles Anton, Trattoria Stella in Traverse City; Marc Djozlija, Wright & Company in downtown Detroit; and Andy Hollyday, Selden Standard in Detroit's Midtown.

Djozlija and Hollyday, who are good friends, were having lunch together at the new Detroit restaurant, Café 78 celebrating Hollyday's birthday.

"It was very surreal," Djozlija said. "Never did I think we would get that kind of recognition," adding with an almost audible grin, "The kids in Detroit are doing something right."

Djozlija, whose Wright & Company in the downtown building that formerly housed the jeweler Wright-Kay, and Café 78 at the Museum of Contemporary Art are both in partnership with Dave Kwiatkowski, said the nomination is icing on the cake for a very good year in which he opened two restaurants.

An independent panel of 600 food and wine experts and former Beard award winners will narrow the field to the final five nominees in each category, to be announced on March 24. The winners will be revealed at the 25th anniversary awards ceremony which takes place May 4 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The James Beard Foundation awards are given annually for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing and food and beverage education in the United States.

The awards honor chefs, restaurants, wine professionals, authors, journalists and other food professionals.

The awards were established in 1990 and widely considered "The Oscars of the food world."

Beard was a cookbook, author, teacher and champion of American cuisine. He died in 1985 at the age of 81. The James Beard Foundation provides scholarships and celebrates American culinary arts.