Zach Bell of Café Bouloud in Palm Beach is the sole Florida chef nominated for a 2011 James Beard Award. Finalists for this highest honor in the culinary world were announced today in Portland, Oregon and on Twitter by the James Beard Foundation.
Bell is a finalist in the Best Chef: South category along with John Harris (Lilette, New Orleans), Christopher Hastings (Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham), Tory McPhail (Commander's Palace, New Orleans) and Stephen Stryjewski (Cochon, New Orleans). Last year Bell was nominated in the same category but local chef Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink brought the medal home.
Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill, which was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant didn't make the final cut. Other South Florida semifinalists included Philippe Ruiz of Palme d'Or, Dean James Max of 3030 Ocean, Sam Gorenstein of BLT Steak.
Can we hope for Bell to bring the medal to South Florida again? We'll find out on May 9 when the winners are announced at a gala in New York.