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The next important date for James Beard Foundation Awards watchers is March 14. That’s when the finalists are announced for the 2018 Beard Awards.

Semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards were announced, with big social media bang, on Feb. 15, in categories such as Rising Star Chef of the Year and Outstanding Restaurant. The winners will be announced – and awards presented – at the annual gala on Monday, May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Wisconsin shows solid representation in that key category, Best Chef: Midwest. Of the 20 semi-finalists, there are four Milwaukeeans –

Previous Milwaukee award winners in that category are Sanford D’Amato (co-founder of Sanford), Adam Siegel (Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro) and Justin Aprahamian (Sanford).

Also is in the running are Joe and Paul Bartolotta, of The Bartolotta Restaurants, in the category Outstanding Restaurateur. This year the brothers are also celebrating the company’s 25th year in operation. Their flagship restaurant, Ristorante Bartolotta, opened in 1993.

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