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MN Restaurants, Chefs Get James Beard Noms

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The "Academy Awards of the food world" announced its prestigious list of finalists on Tuesday, giving several nods to Minnesota chefs and restaurants.

The final list of James Beard Award nominations cut the long list of semifinalists down to the top five in each category.

The Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee of the James Beard Foundation scours roughly 40,000 submissions to whittle the list down to an impressive few.

The awards are divided into categories, ranging from Best Restaurant and Outstanding Chef to Outstanding Service and Best Chef by region.

In the Best Chef: Midwest category, the nominees include Paul Berglund of the Bachelor Farmer, Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart and Lenny Russo, of Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market. Best Chef: Midwest combines the top cooks of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Food Network star and Minnesota native Amy Thielen was nominated for two awards -- one in the TV Program Studio/Fixed Location category for her show, "Heartland Table" and another for her "The New Midwestern Table" cookbook.

"The Splendid Table," which began on Minnesota Public Radio, was nominated in the Radio Show and Audio Broadcast category (for host Lynne Rosseto Kasper and producers Sally Swift and Jennifer Russell). And "The Perennial Plate" (producers Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine) is up for an award in the Video Webcast on Location category.

The 2014 James Beard Awards will be held in New York City on May 2 and 5.

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