Michael Symon, Iron Chef and master of Lola, named finalist for Beard Foundation’s Best Chef award

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Mike Symon, a James Beard finalist whose specialties include mac 'n' cheese. Now that's reppin' Cleveland.
It’s official. For the second year running, our own Iron Chef, Michael Symon (Lola, Lolita), has been listed among the nation’s top toques, nominated as one of the Best Chefs in the Great Lakes by the James Beard Foundation. Often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world,” the annual Beard Awards are both prestigious and highly coveted. Last year, Symon lost out to Chicago chef Grant Achatz (Alinea). This year, his competition includes Chicago chefs Graham Elliot Bowles (Avenues), Bruce Sherman (North Pond) and Carrie Nahabedian (Naba), and Alex Young, of Zingerman’s Roadhouse, in Ann Arbor. Symon is the only Clevelander to make it to the final list of nominees, although last month’s leaked copy of the first-round balloting tossed plenty of props in Cleveland’s direction. Preliminary nods for Best New Restaurant, for instance, went to Dante and Table 45; chefs Jonathan Sawyer (Bar Cento) and Cory Barrett (Lola) were early entries in the Rising Star category; and Zack Bruell (Table 45) also snagged an early spot in the Best Chef – Great Lakes category. Winners will be announced in NYC on June 8. For a full list of nominees, click here.– Elaine T. Cicora Read Elaine Cicora's restaurant reviews, food news, and comprehensive dining guide on the restaurant page at clevescene.com.

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