MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twelve chefs from 10 Twin Cities restaurants have been honored as semifinalists for the restaurant world’s most prestigious awards from The James Beard Foundation.

Two bakers and a pastry chef are semifinalists in categories competing against the best around the country, seven chefs are semifinalists as the regional Best Chef of the Midwest.

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Michelle Gayer, owner and chef at The Salty Tart, and John Kraus from Patisserie 46, both in Minneapolis, are semifinalists for the James Beard Award of Outstanding Baker. Both have been semifinalists in the past.

First-time semifinalist Diane Yang from Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis was named to the list of Outstanding Pastry Chefs.

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For Best Chef Midwest division, semifinalists include Paul Berglund from The Bachelor Farmer, Thomas Boemer from Corner Table and Revival, Jim Christiansen from Heyday, Jorge Guzman from Surly Brewing Co., Russell Klein from Meritage, Lenny Russo from Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, and Mike Brown, Bob Gerken, and James Winberg from Travail Kitchen & Amusements.

This is the first time Boemer and Guzman have been named semifinalists.

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The semifinalists are the first round of nominees. A group of finalists in each category will be named on March 15, and the winners will be announced on May 2 in Chicago.

Jason DeRusha