food service

Local chefs, restaurants named semifinalists for Beard Awards

MATT JENNINGS, co-owner of Farmstead Inc. in Providence with his wife, Kate, has been named a semifinalist in the Best Chef: Northeast category of the James Beard Foundation Awards, along with Champe Speidel of Persimmon in Bristol.
Posted 2/19/13

NEW YORK – Two Rhode Island chefs and two restaurants have been named semifinalists for the 2013 James Beard Foundation’s restaurant and chef awards.

The Beard Awards are the “highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America,” according to the foundation’s website.

The semifinalist list released Tuesday includes Matt Jennings of Providence’s Farmstead Inc. and Champe Speidel of Bristol’s Persimmon in the running for Best Chef: Northeast, with Providence’s Cook & Brown Public House listed as a semifinalist in the Outstanding Bar Program category and Persimmon also nominated for Outstanding Service.

Farmstead Inc. specializes in artisan foods, while Cook & Brown bills itself as a “modern, New England-inspired version of a European Gastropub.”

Persimmon describes itself as “a modern restaurant serving fresh American cuisine in harmony with the seasons.”

Both Jennings and Speidel have been nominated as semifinalists in the same category in previous years.

Established in 1990, the Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and continue to emphasize the foundation’s mission of celebrating, preserving and nurturing America’s culinary heritage and diversity, according to the website.

Finalists will be announced Monday, March 18, and the awards will presented in May in New York City. All award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia.

The list of seminfinalists is available at

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