The biggest food world news this week was undoubtedly the announcement of this year's James Beard semifinalists. L.A. has a ton of restaurants and chefs being considered for nominations, including Curtis Stone's Maude for Best New Restaurant, the Varnish for Outstanding Bar Program, Suzanne Goin for outstanding chef and Goin's Lucques for Outstanding Service. In the Best Chef in the West category, Josef Centeno, Michael Cimarusti, Chad Colby, Jeremy Fox, Ludo Lefebvre and Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo are all on the semifinalist list. The final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominations for Book, Journalism, Broadcast Media and Restaurant Design Awards, will be announced at James Beard House in New York City on Tuesday, March 24.
Rather than just regurgitate the above information like everyone else (though they did that as well), Eater took the semifinalist list and crunched the numbers, and came up with this nifty graph to see how naming your restaurant might impact your chances of getting on the semifinalist list. Let's hope it's actually the cooking and not the naming that gets you there … though I was happy to see that the “Thing & Other Thing” name configuration is not nearly as likely to get a Beard nod as many other types of names.
Here in the United States, our food makers are sadly ignoring the 40th anniversary of the band KISS. Not so in Japan, where you soon will be able to buy Hot KISS Buns, charcoal- and chili-flavored hot black steamed buns. Japan gets all the fun things. Hurrumph.
Have you checked out the Piglet, Food 52's cookbook tournament? It's super fun and it's happening right now, with the year's 16 most notable cookbooks going head to head, bracket-style. Judges include blogger Adam Roberts of the Amateur Gourmet and Eater critic Ryan Sutton, and L.A. has one book in the running with Zoe Nathan's Huckleberry.
In new restaurants news, the Bar Covell team has opened a wine bar in Sherman Oaks called Augustine, Toddrickallen reports that 12 Twelve soon will replace Monsoon in Santa Monica, and Eater reports that Yakuza Sushi is about to open in Silver Lake judging by its help-wanted ads on Craigslist (though it has been “about to open” for almost a year).