Five Vermont eateries have been named semi-finalists for the prestigious James Beard Awards.
Mojo Hansi Davis of Burlington restaurant May Day and Arganesh Michael of South Burlington caterer A Taste of Abyssinia were nominated for best chef in the Northeast.
Hancy-Davis offers a variety of menu items, from fried noodles to hanger steaks.
A former nurse from Eritrea, Michael has been hosting pop-up dinners in various restaurants for the past six years, serving Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine. She caters for parties, holds cooking classes, and South She offers her takeout dinners weekly at The Her Mill Her Market and Deli in Burlington.
Amanda Wildermuth of Burlington restaurant Honey Road was nominated in the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category. Her creations include walnut baklava and mini chocolate sesame mousse.
Middlebury’s Haymaker Bun Company was nominated for Outstanding Bakery.
“This is such an honor,” said owner Caroline Corrente. “I’m a big believer in the James Beard Awards. I’m completely shocked.”
Corrente said she learned the news from a friend who texted her.
This is the first time the James Beard Awards have included a bakery category.
Corrente says he started Haymaker in 2017 from his kitchen. Her trained pastry chef, she was back home on her maternity leave trying to find her next professional step. She came up with the idea of making specialty brioche buns, including sweet, savory, and chocolate ones.
In 2018, she and her husband had the opportunity to move into a downtown Middlebury space with a deck overlooking Otter Creek. Their cafe serves breakfast and lunch.
“I’m so proud of my team,” Corrente said. We work really hard and get up really early.”
Burlington’s Foam Brewers have been nominated for the Distinguished Wine and Other Beverages Program. Its draft beers, from Pavement India Pale Ale to Pagan Science American Wild Ale, are aged with peaches.
“This is a pretty pleasant surprise,” said Bob Grim, Foam co-founder and head brewer. Grimm said he found out when he got an email from another Vermont brewer.
Grimm said he believes the appointment is a recognition of Foam’s commitment to supporting Vermont’s agriculture, which has been part of the brewery’s ethos since its inception.
“When we opened, we took it into who we were,” Grimm said. “We wanted to work with people in the community.”
Last year, Nisachon “Rung” Morgan, owner of Randolph’s Thai restaurant Saap, won an award as the best chef in the Northeast.
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