in partnership
Del Mar Paella Mariscos.jpeg
Del Mar is a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category. Finalists will be announced on March 14. (Image: Courtesy Del Mar)

22 local semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards

We know the actual Oscars aren't for a few more weeks, but for the foodies in town, today's announcement of the James Beard Awards semifinalists was definitely popcorn worthy.

This year, D.C. was represented in nearly every category, with the exceptions being Outstanding Baker (although Mark Furstenberg won the category last year and has been a nominee in the category for the last three years) and Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional (although two Virginia companies are represented in the category). While many of the nominees are veterans on this list, we saw several new additions to the list, including ChiKo, Del Mar, Maydan, Daniela Moreira, and Esther Lee.

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 during a press conference at Parc in Philadelphia on March 14 at 9:30 a.m. The winners will be revealed on May 7 at the 2018 James Beard Awards Gala. So let's keep our fingers crossed and root hard for the home team here guys!

Take a look below at who the 22 semifinalists are in which categories.

Best New Restaurant
Del Mar

Outstanding Bar Program
Columbia Room

Outstanding Chef
Vikram Sunderam, Rasika
Fabio Trabocchi, Fiola

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Aggie Chin, Mirabelle

Outstanding Restaurant

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

Outstanding Service

Outstanding Wine Program
Bourbon Steak

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Daniela Moreira, Timber Pizza
Kevin Tien, Himitsu

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Amy Brandwein, Centrolina
Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint
Jeremiah Langhorne, The Dabney
Esther Lee, Obelisk
Cedric Maupillier, Convivial
Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
Seng Luangrath, Padaek
Tony Conte, Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana

You can see the full list of semifinalists here. And be sure to click through the gallery above for a sneak peek at what a few of these restaurants/chefs have to offer!