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James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalists Include Five from Big D

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The James Beard Foundation this morning released its list of semifinalists for its prestigious restaurant and chef awards, honoring hundreds of culinary visionaries and their home eateries -- including five in the Dallas area.

Four entries on the list -- Stephan Pyles, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, The French Room and Tei An's Teiichi Sakurai, a semifinalist in the Best Chef-Southwest category -- have previously earned the Beard committee's attentions. But James Tidwell of Café on the Green at the Four Seasons resort in Las Colinas, semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Service, has never before been so honored.

Over the coming month, past winners and regional panelists will whittle down the list to five finalists in each category. The nominees will be announced on March 21 through a live Twitter feed.

Pyles, a semifinalist for Outstanding Chef, has been nominated for four Beard awards, winning Best Chef-Southwest in 1991 for his work at Routh Street Café. The Mansion's collected seven nominations in the restaurant, service and wine categories; Dean Fearing won the Best Chef-Southwest title there in 1994. This year, his namesake restaurant's vying for a nomination in the Outstanding Restaurant category.

The French Room is a semifinalist for Outstanding Service.

Dallas didn't dent the categories most closely associated with creativity and innovation: Many of the semifinalists for Best New Restaurant and Rising Star Chef are located on the coasts, with San Francisco providing four potential nominees in each category.

Two of the Dallas representatives have Texan competition: Robert del Grande's in the Outstanding Chef race, and Sakurai's listed alongside Randy Rucker, Bryan Caswell and Tyson Cole.

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