Philadelphia held a place in the nation's culinary spotlight Wednesday as the James Beard Foundation set up at Parc restaurant to announce its nominations for its 2018 restaurant and media awards.
Ellen Yin, who helped transform Old City two decades ago with the bistro Fork and who with partners grew an empire that includes a.kitchen, High Street on Market, and High Street on Hudson in New York City, was nominated for restaurateur of the year.
Camille Cogswell, pastry chef at Zahav in Old City, was nominated for rising star chef. At 27, she is an old hand at the nominations; she won a nod last year.
Rich Landau, chef/partner with his wife, Kate Jacoby, at the vegan destination Vedge in Washington Square, was nominated for best chef in the mid-Atlantic region. The couple's holdings also include Wiz Kid and V Street, both also specializing in plant-based cooking.
Zahav, owned by Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook, again was nominated for service.
The foundation, which moves its announcement city from year to year, chose Philadelphia after a solid local showing in last year's awards. The proceedings — similar to the early morning Oscars announcements — were live-streamed to viewers around the country
Parc took on the look of an industry-filled breakfast party as a podium was set up near the host stand and semifinalists and their friends ate a spread of food.
Stephen Starr, who owns Parc, won last year as best restaurateur. Solomonov, a partner at Zahav, Abe Fisher, Federal Donuts, Dizengoff, Rooster Soup Co., and Goldie, won as best chef. Greg Vernick of Vernick won as best chef, mid-Atlantic.
Among those that made this year semifinals:
Tova du Plessis, who owns Essen Bakery on East Passyunk Avenue, for baker; Talula's Table, Aimee Olexy's Kennett Square market/chef's table, for restaurant; Jesse Ito of Queen Village's Royal Izakaya for rising star chef; Teresa's Next Door in Wayne in the bar-program category; Pat O'Malley of the Hungry Pigeon in pastry; and Chef Vola's in Atlantic City for service.
Also, Joey Baldino of Zeppoli in Collingswood; Nicholas Elmi of Laurel on East Passyunk Avenue; Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller of El Compadre in South Philadelphia; and Ena Widjojo, Maylia Widjojo, and Diana Widjojo of Hardena in South Philadelphia were among semifinalists for best chef, mid-Atlantic.