Las Vegas restaurants among the semifinalists for the 2012 James Beard Awards

Savor sublime flavors of authentic Japanese cuisine at Raku.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

With the Oscars looming and actresses depriving themselves of carbohydrate happiness in preparation for their red carpet moments, it’s seems only appropriate that the food world is buzzing with awards news of its own.

On Tuesday, the James Beard Foundation announced the 2012 semifinalists in its annual awards, prestigious honors that recognize the best chefs and restaurants across the U.S. Alongside names like David Chang (Outstanding Chef), Foreign Cinema (Outstanding Restaurant) and Top Chef: Las Vegas alum Kevin Gillespie (Rising Star Chef of the Year), Las Vegas' own Picasso, Joël Robuchon and Mitsuo Endo made the list.

This year, Las Vegas-based or -affiliated restaurants and chefs placed in five categories, with Picasso and Endo both ranking in the same categories they were semifinalists in last year. The field will be further narrowed on March 19, when the foundation announces its finalists live in Las Vegas, with winners to be named on May 7 at the awards show. Tickets for the James Beard Awards—with all the drama of the Oscars and far better food—go on sale March 19. Call 914-231-6180 for details.

The Las Vegas semifinalists:

Outstanding Restaurant: Picasso at the Bellagio

Outstanding Wine Program: Picasso at the Bellagio

Outstanding Service: Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand

Best Chef: Southwest: Mistuo Endo, Raku

Outstanding Restaurateur: Eric and Bruce Bromberg, Blue Ribbon Restaurants


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