Lexington, Ky. – A handful of food and drink industry professionals in Kentucky were named semifinalists for 2016 James Beard Awards.
The national awards, often considered the “Academy Awards of the food industry,” recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the James Beard Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire.
Master Distillers Drew Kulsveen, at Willett Distillery in Bardstown, and Harlen Wheatley, at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, are both semifinalists in the category of “Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional.”
Ouita Michel, the owner of Holly Hill Inn and Wallace Station in Midway and Windy Corner and Smithtown Seafood in Lexington, is a semifinalist in the category of “Outstanding Restauranteur.”
Louisville chefs Kathy Cary, at Lilly’s, and Edward Lee, at 610 Magnolia, are both semifinalists in the category of “Best Chef: Southeast.”
Selected from a list of more than 20,000 online entries, the prestigious group of semifinalists in 21 categories represents a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in ten different regions across the U.S., to the nation’s top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, rising star chefs, pastry chefs and bakers. See this year’s full semifinalist list at the end of this press release or online at jamesbeard.org/awards.
Finalists for each category will be announced on March 15, and award winners will be announced April 26.