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Bites: Blowback From a Chef, James Beard Nominations

And more local food news


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Penning the recent Scene feature story "25 Restaurants Cleveland Can't Live Without" was fun, but not without its consequences.

While 25 may sound like a nice, plump figure, it barely scratches the surface of noble eateries around town. Naturally, there were hurt feelings along with the praise.

"All I can say is WOW!" wrote one Facebook respondent. "I know what we have here in Cleveland, but to see them listed out. Hard to believe there are that many great places."

Also from Facebook: "Hit the nail on the head with the selections. Running through that list makes me even more proud to be a part of the Cleveland culinary scene." The praise certainly is nice to hear, especially in light of a few other responses ...

"What the hell do I have to do to get some respect from you?" wrote one exasperated chef and owner. "I watched over the years while you have praised every label licker chef and restaurant that has come your way whether because you knew them personally or because they got a tremendous amount of propaganda bullshit hype."

Ouch. More to the point was this comment: "No love."

No love indeed.

The James Beard Foundation has revealed its semifinalists for this year's Beard Awards, scheduled for New York on May 9. As usual, Cleveland-area chefs and restaurants fared well. The final list of nominees will be released on March 21.

Michael Symon racked up multiple nominations in the categories of Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurant (Lola). Jonathon Sawyer from Greenhouse Tavern is in the running for the much-coveted Rising Star Chef. Zack Bruell (Parallax, Chinato, L'Albatros) and Eric Williams (Momocho) got the nod for Best Chef: Great Lakes Region.

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