Louisville is the only city with two finalists in the James Beard Awards’ Best Chef Southeast category, which includes Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky.
Chef Lee’s Milkwood — which opened in the basement of Actors Theatre last year — also was nominated as a James Beard semi-finalist in the Best New Restaurant category, but the Asian-and-Southern-inspired eatery did not advance to the finals. This is the second consecutive year Lee has been named a best chef finalist.
Last month, fellow Kentuckian Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort was named a James Beard Award semi-finalist in the category of Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional, and he, too, has advanced to the finals (and we here at Insider Louisville concur he makes a damn fine bourbon!).
The James Beard Awards will be held in New York City on Friday, May 2 (yep, that’s Derby weekend).
Other finalists in the Best Chef Southeast Region include Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh, NC; Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta; and Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville.