Three local chefs named as James Beard Award semifinalists

Ted Habiger, the co-owner – with chef Andrew Sloan – of Kansas City’s two Room 39 restaurants, shouldn’t have had his phone recharging this morning.

“It’s my day off,” Habiger says. “I was relaxing, reading the Steve Jobs biography, and when I finally looked at the phone, I saw that I had 20 messages.”

One of those messages was from his staff of the midtown Room 39, telling Habiger that one of the local TV stations needed to interview him: He had been nominated for the third time as a semifinalist for a prestigious James Beard Award, by the New York-based James Beard Foundation, in the “Best Chef: Midwest” category, along with Howard Hanna, executive chef and co-owner of the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange.

Habiger and Sloan were guest chefs at the James Beard House a year ago.

A third local chef, the American Restaurant pastry chef Nick Wesemann, was also announced as a semifinalist in the “Outstanding Pastry Chef” category. All of the 2014 semifinalists are listed here

The restaurant and chef awards will be presented in New York City May 5.