James Beard Awards Announce Willa Jean and Maypop as Semi-Finalists

While the month of February is jam-packed with exciting happenings (From Valentine’s Day to the Super Bowl, and, of course, Mardi Gras), it also brings the anticipation for the  annual James Beard Awards Semi-Finalists announcement- an overview of contenders for the Oscars of the culinary and hospitality awards.

Since they were established in 1990, the James Beard Awards have continued to honor excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education. As in previous years, New Orleans restaurants and bars have a strong showing on the list — and the inclusion of South Market District chefs does not disappoint.

Willa Jean‘s Kelly Fields is nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef. And with buttery biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, and banana bread as delicious as the restaurant’s offerings, who could disagree?

To celebrate South Market District’s Southern-Asian fusion offerings, Maypop’s Michael Gulotta is in the running for Best Chef: South, the regional award featuring numerous New Orleans’ chefs.

The list of semi-finalists will be reduced to finalists on March 14. Winners will be announced May 7 at the annual James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago.