Once again, the Bay Area is showing off its culinary chops as finalists for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards were announced on Monday.

We’ll start with some of the bigger categories. In terms of Best Chef: Pacific there are some truly heavy hitters including Michael Chiarello of Bottega, Chris Cosentino of Incanto, Christopher Kostow from The Restaurant at Meadowood and Daniel Patterson of Coi. The lone Southern California representative is Matt Molina from Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. Newcomer AQ was one of five national finalists in the category of Best New Restaurant. And a pair of locals, Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food and Thomas McNaughton of flour + water are finalists in the Rising Star Chef of the Year category.

In the category of outstanding chef, Gary Danko of Restaurant Gary Danko is one of six finalists, Boulevard is a finalist in the category of Outstanding Restaurant, A16 in the Outstanding Wine Program category, Bar Agricole for Outstanding Bar Program and Melissa Chou of Aziza in the category of Outstanding Pastry Chef. Michael Mina and Cyrus in Healdsburg were also named finalists in the category of Outstanding Service.

San Francisco pastry chef and author Emily Luchetti will also be honored as one of five inductees into the 2012 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.

There are numerous other nominees with Bay Area ties, which you can find here. The media awards will be handed out on May 4 with the restaurant and chef awards being doled out on May 7 in New York City.



Photo Credit: James Beard Foundation