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CT Chefs Tapped As James Beard Award Semifinalists

A La Carte

Leeanne Griffin

12:25 PM EST, February 19, 2013

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This year's list of James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef semifinalists is in, and two Connecticut chefs are in the running for one of the food and beverage world's highest honors.

Bun Lai of Miya's Sushi in New Haven and Bill Taibe of LeFarm and The Whelk in Westport have been nominated in the category of Best Chef: Northeast, joining other star contenders from New England and upstate New York. This is Taibe's third consecutive nomination, earning nods in 2011 and 2012.

Both chefs are known for an intense commitment to fresh, local and sustainable ingredients, particularly seafood. Taibe's The Whelk concentrates on fish and shellfish from local purveyors; Lai eschews any non-sustainable fish on his menu and often uses edible invasive species in his sushi creations.

In 2012, Manchester's Shady Glen earned an America's Classics award from the foundation, which honored American restaurants with "timeless appeal."

See the full list of semifinalists here. More information about the James Beard Foundation: www.jamesbeard.org