James Beard loved American cuisine, and his foundation recognizes those who tirelessly devote a large piece of themselves to this field every day. To that end, since 1996 The James Beard Foundation (JBF) has celebrated the cream of this crop each year through annual awards in cuisine, culinary writing and culinary arts and education. There are more than 20,000 online entries for these awards, and being chosen as a semifinalist comes with great prestige.

This year, Indianapolis has four chefs and a restaurateur nominated for JBF awards:

Rising Star Chef of the Year:

Alan Sternberg, Cerulean, Indianapolis

Best Chef, Great Lakes region:

Jonathan Brooks, Milktooth, Indianapolis

Greg Hardesty, Recess, Indianapolis

Abbi Merriss, Bluebeard, Indianapolis

Outstanding Restauranteur:

Martha Hoover, Patachou Inc., Indianapolis (Café Patachou, Petite Chou Bistro, Napolese, and others)

The 2016 James Beard Awards Gala, which will be hosted by Carla Hall, will take place on May 2 at Lyric Opera in Chicago. You can learn more about the foundation and see a list of complete categories and nominees at http://www.jamesbeard.org/awards.

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