Local chefs Karen Bell, owner of Bavette La Boucherie in the Third Ward, and Justin Carlisle, owner of Ardent on Milwaukee’s East Side, have received nominations as finalists to receive 2018 James Beard Awards for Best Chef Midwest, the James Beard Foundation announced this morning.
Carlisle and Bell, the only finalists from Wisconsin, join a group of five chefs up for the Best Chef Midwest award. They include Steven Brown of Tilia, Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable, and Ann Kim of Young Joni, all based in Minneapolis. The five were selected from a group of 20 semifinalists.
Carlisle is no stranger to advancing this far in the awards process. He received a Best Chef nomination in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and in 2014, Ardent was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, but he has never won a James Beard award. Bell is a second-time semifinalist for Best Chef, receiving the nomination last year, but this is her first finalist nomination.
Last month, the foundation announced five Milwaukee-based chefs, including Bell and Carlisle, who were named Best Chef Midwest semifinalists. Among them were Thomas Hauck, owner of c.1880 in Walker’s Point, Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, owners of DanDan and EsterEv in the Third Ward. Paul and Joe Bartolotta, owners of The Bartolotta Restaurants were also nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur.
Carlisle and Bell, along with six other award-winning and nominated James Beard chefs from Milwaukee and Madison, recently participated in the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour event, which was held at Tre Rivali at the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel in the Third Ward.
Award winners will be announced on May 7 at the James Beard Awards gala in Chicago.