Mike Lata, Bob Waggoner, and Sean Brock have all made it to the final round of the James Beard Awards, which means they’ll be heading to the ceremony in NYC in May to see if they will win in their respective categories. Lata and Waggoner in Best Chef: Southeast and Brock in Rising Star Chef of the Year.

Brock is once again up against some stiff competition: Nate Appleman of A16 in San Francisco, Johnny Monis of Komi in Washington, D.C., Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland, Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philadelphia, and Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s in New Orleans.

Interesting fact: Johnny Monis studied at Johnson & Wales in Charleston, but left before graduating to work at McCrady’s (under one of Brock’s predecessors).

Unfortunately, Ken Vedrinski’s Trattoria Lucca did not make it to the finals, but getting some national recognition for opening a little Italian restaurant in the outer regions of downtown Charleston is a pretty big deal nonetheless.