Las Vegas scores 10 James Beard Award semifinalists

The annual honors are the national culinary community’s highest prize

Sage’s baked farm egg. The restaurant is a 2010 James Beard semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category.

As the best winter athletes in the world gather in Vancouver for the Olympics, the best chefs and restaurants in the U.S. have been honored as semifinalists in the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards.

The annual awards given by the New York-based foundation are some of the highest accolades in the national culinary scene, and this year Las Vegas is primed to take home some of Beard’s best bread.

The 2010 semifinalists were announced yesterday and the list will be narrowed down to the final nominees March 22. The awards themselves will be announced May 3 in a ceremony that draws together a who’s who of kitchen pros. At the 2009 awards, Las Vegas’s own Paul Bartolotta took home the Best Chef in the Southwest region award for his Wynn Las Vegas restaurant Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare.

Here are this year’s local semifinalists:

Outstanding Chef: Julian Serrano, Picasso at Bellagio

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Vanessa Garcia, Restaurant Charlie at the Palazzo

Best New Restaurant: Sage, Aria Resort & Casino

Outstanding Pastry Chef: Kamel Guechida, Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand

Outstanding Wine Service: Picasso at Bellagio

Outstanding Service: Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand

Outstanding Service: Nobhill Tavern at MGM Grand

Best Chef: Southwest: Saipin Chutima, Lotus of Siam

Best Chef: Southwest: Claude Le Tohic, Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand

Best Chef: Southwest: Rick Moonen, RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay

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