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James Beard Awards announce finalists with several nods to New Orleans 

  The James Beard Foundation announced its 2014 finalists March 19 in Chicago, and New Orleans chefs were largely shut out of the national categories, with the exception of Peche Seafood Grill (800 Magazine St., 504-522-1744; www.pecherestaurant.com), which is in the running for the nation's Best New Restaurant. The other nominees in that category include three New York City restaurants (Betony, Carbone and Estela) and San Francisco's Coqueta.

  Chef John Besh is a finalist in the category Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, while the beloved snowball stand Hansen's Sno-Bliz (see 3-Course Interview, page 31) received a nod in the category "America's Classics."

  New Orleans did, however, clean up in the regional Best Chef: South category, which encompasses restaurants in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico. Four of the five nominees are from the Crescent City: Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery (4238 Magazine St., 504-891-3377; www.lapetitegrocery.com); Ryan Prewitt, Peche Seafood Grill; Alon Shaya, Domenica (123 Baronne St., 504-648-2020; www.domenicarestaurant.com); and Sue Zemanick of Gautreau's (1728 Soniat St., 504-899-7397; www.gautreausrestaurant.com) and Ivy (5015 Magazine St., 504-899-1330).

  The Beard Foundation announced its 2014 semifinalists Feb. 19, with 14 nods to New Orleans restaurants, chefs and bar professionals. The Beard Awards are some of the highest honors in the American culinary world.

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

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