Detroit’s restaurant scene seems to be in an upswing, especially when it comes to critical acclaim.

Although it’s the long list of semifinalist nominees, multiple Detroit area chefs and restaurants were nominated for awards.

If you’re not familiar with the James Beard Awards, or the Beard Awards, it’s one of the food industry’s highest honors. There are a variety of categories from inside the kitchen to those who cover it.

According to the Beard Foundation, which oversees the annual awards, the judges are all experts in their fields who may not enter their awards category during the year they are judging. (Judges may, however, enter awards categories they are not judging.) The judging process is also overseen by an independent accounting firm.

In what shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone based on the recent flurry of positive culinary coverage, Katoi in Corktown is nominated for Best New Restaurant. This is for “a restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.”

Detroit’s Outstanding Baker nominee is the dancing queen Lisa Ludwinski of Sister Pie. Sister Pie was recently featured in multiple national publications. The Outstanding Baker is one “who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been a baker or pastry chef for at least five years” according to James Beard. 

Nominated for Outstanding Bar Program is Standby, located in downtown Detroit at The Belt. The qualifications for this one are “A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits and/or beer service.”

Best Chef in the Great Lakes Region’s nomination has three local area entries. Andy Hollyday of Selden Standard in Detroit, Nick Janutol of Forest in Birmingham, and James Rigato of Mabel Gray in Hazel Park.

The finalist nominations will be announced March 15 and the finalists May 1.

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