Mike Randolph, acclaimed chef at Publico and Randolfi's in the Delmar Loop in University City, in his restaurant Publico Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Working with him are sous chef Bryan Russo, center, and Derek Graue, at the hearth. Photo by Karen Elshout
The James Beard Foundation on Thursday announced the semifinalists for its annual awards, the so-called “Oscars of the food world.” Four St. Louis-based chefs and two St. Louis restaurants are among the honorees.
Vicia is a semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant,” a nationwide category. The restaurant, from the married team of Michael and Tara Gallina, opened in March 2017 at 4260 Forest Park Avenue.
“It’s been an exciting day,” Tara Gallina said. “It was a goal we had set for ourselves since day one, but you can never expect it to happen.”
“We’ve worked very hard to build a very wonderful team of staff,” Gallina said, adding that she was happy to be receiving national recognition for their menu “celebrating what food in the Midwest is all about.”
Downtown institution Tony’s is a semifinalist for “Outstanding Service,” another nationwide category.
This is the restaurant’s first appearance as a James Beard Awards semifinalist.
Four St. Louis chefs are semifinalists for “Best Chef: Midwest”: Ben Grupe of Elaia, Lona Luo of Lona’s Lil Eats, Mike Randolph of Privado and Ashley Shelton of Sardella.
This is Randolph’s third consecutive year as a semifinalist in the Midwest category. (He previously was listed under his restaurant Público.)
Grupe, Luo and Shelton are first-time semifinalists in the category, though Shelton was a semifinalist last year in the national “Rising Star Chef of the Year” category.