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21 local semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards

You've heard us say this before but 2016 was a banner year for D.C. dining-- we got a Michelin Guide, Bon Appetit named us Best Restaurant City of the Year, Aaron Silverman won a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic and more than 100 new restaurants opened over the course of the year.

And it would appear that in 2017, good fortune will continue to befall D.C. as today's announcement of James Beard Award semifinalists (a.k.a the Oscars of the restaurant world!) saw 21 locals nominated across 21 categories. From esteemed bakers to rising stars and outstanding beverage directors, the DMV region was well represented.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and furthers the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America's food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.

The finalists will be announced in real time on Facebook Live and Twitter in Los Angeles on March 15 and the winners will be revealed on April 25 at The Foundation's Media Awards in New York City. So let's keep our fingers crossed and root hard for the home team here guys! Take a look below at who the 21 semifinalists are in which categories.

Best New Restaurant
Pineapple and Pearls
Sweet Home Café at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Outstanding Baker
Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst

Outstanding Bar Program
Columbia Room

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional
Jim Law of Linden Vineyards (Linden, VA)

Outstanding Chef
Fabio Trabocchi, Fiola
Eric Ziebold, Kinship

Outstanding Restaurant

Outstanding Restaurateur
Ashok Bajaj, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group (The Bombay Club, Rasika, The Oval Room, and others)

Outstanding Service
Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier

Outstanding Wine Program

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Kevin Tien, Himitsu

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Amy Brandwein, Centrolina
Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint
Mike Friedman, All-Purpose Pizzeria
Seng Luangrath, Thip Khao
Cedric Maupillier, Convivial
Nobu Yamazaki, Sushi Taro

You can see the full list of semifinalists here.