Nick Wesemann, Patrick Ryan, Howard Hanna and Bluestem up for James Beard Awards

The James Beard Foundation released its list of semifinalists today for the organization’s 2014 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Three Kansas City chefs are among the semifinalists, including the American Restaurant’s pastry chef, Nick Wesemann, who is one of 20 nominees in the nationwide “Outstanding Pastry Chef” category.

Howard Hanna, the executive chef and co-owner of the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange,  and Patrick Ryan, chef and owner of Port Fonda, are nominated in the “Best Chef: Midwest” category.

Bluestem restaurant, co-owned by Colby and Megan Garrelts — Colby was voted “Best Chef: Midwest” in 2013 — is nominated in the nationwide “Outstanding Restaurant” category.

This is the first year that Bluestem is nominated in the Outstanding Restaurant category.

“We were definitely not expecting that,” Colby Garrelts says. “Megan and I are a little overwhelmed, humbled and excited. We’ve already agreed to cook as guest chefs at the awards gala in May, so we were already planning to be there.”

Wesemann, who was also nominated in the “Outstanding Pastry Chef” category last year, says he was hoping to be nominated again this year. “It’s a huge honor, but the competition has some of the biggest names in the national pastry chef community,” Wesemann says. “If I make it into the top five finalists, I’ll definitely be going to Chicago.”

The semifinalists list will be pared down by March 24, when the list of finalists will be released. The winners will be named at the James Beard Awards gala in Chicago on May 4.

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink