It’s awards season and Craig Deihl has nabbed an award, while Sean Brock and the Lee Brothers have been nominated.

By now you probably know who the nominees are for the James Beard Awards for Best Chef: Southeast. It should be no surprise to see Brock of McCrady’s name on the short-list.

For the previous two years, he was in the running for the national Rising Star Chef award, a prestigious designation that was won by Nate Appleman (Next Iron Chef) in 2009, Gavin Kaysen (Cafe Boulud) in 2008, and David Chang (Momofuku) in 2007.

But that’s not to say Brock’s a shoo-in for the Best Chef: Southeast award. He’s got some stiff competition, including multiple nominees like Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten in Athens, Ga., Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta, and Bill Smith of the venerable Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C. Also from Chapel Hill is Andrea Reusing of Lantern, who is a first-time nominee. Her restaurant has gotten plenty of attention for its farm-to-table approach, and she has as good a chance as any to take home the JBF.

If I had paid attention in statistics class, I’d lay out the odds for each nominee, but I didn’t. Instead, I’ll just say I’m rooting for our hometown boy to bring this award to Charleston for the third year in a row.

Matt and Ted Lee have also received a James Beard nomination for their newest cookbook, Simple, Fresh, Southern. They’ll be going head to head with Donald Link and John Besh, two very popular and well-respected chefs, in the American Cooking category.

Cypress Chef Craig Deihl, who was a semifinalist in this year’s James Beard Awards, was recently honored by his peers with the Culinary Federation Award for Best Chef — Charleston, a worthy honor that is “bestowed upon one outstanding Executive Chef in the Charleston area that has demonstrated the highest standard of culinary skills, advanced the cuisine of America, and has consistently given back to the profession.”

Of course, we don’t need awards to tell us who makes delicious food in this town, right?


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