Find out which Milwaukee chefs made the cut for Best Chef: Midwest.

It’s that time of year. The James Beard Foundation has announced the semifinalists for the Oscars of the culinary world. What concerns us here in MKE are the chef nominees in two categories ‒ Best Chef: Midwest and Outstanding Restaurateur. 

In the Midwest category, two nominees also made the semifinal list in 2018 ‒ Karen Bell of Bavette La Boucherie, and Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite of DanDan Restaurant and Fauntleroy. A new addition to this list of 20 nominees is Dane Baldwin, chef-co-owner of Brady Street’s The Diplomat. Prior to opening his restaurant in 2017, Baldwin worked at quite a few MKE restaurants, from the late Dancing Ganesha to Mr. B’s: A Bartolotta Steakhouse. Also nominated in the Midwest category is Jonny Hunter, of the Madison’s Forequarter

In the Outstanding Restaurateur category, the Bartolotta brothers Paul and Joe, founders of The Bartolotta Restaurants, are again among the nominees.

And in a nomination first, Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge is a semifinalist in the Outstanding Bar Program category.

In news related to the nominee chefs, Bell is expected to open her second Bavette location this year at the Mequon Public Market, and the Dans of DanDan added Fauntleroy to their restaurant empire last summer. 

The final award nominees in each category will be announced on March 27, and the winners will be named at the 2019 JBA Gala on May 6 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. 




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