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Like a rerun of the theater scene coming of age in the Second City, the food landscape in Chicago is as big-time as our world-class city itself.

For the first time in its 25 year history, the James Beard Awards, hosted by Alton Brown, are being held outside of New York. Chicago is the host city for the coveted May 4 event taking place at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Tickets are $500 for the general public and $450 for James Beard Foundation members.

For those unfamiliar with the awards, the James Beard Awards are to the restaurant industry as the Oscars are to the film industry.

Below are the finalists for the 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award categories, from Outstanding Restaurant to Rising Star Chef of the Year. Winners will be announced on May 4, 2015.

Richard Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises will receive the 2015 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chicago nominees include: Parachute (Best New Restaurant category); The Violet Hour, (Outstanding Bar Program category); Dana Cree, Blackbird (Outstanding Pastry Chef category); Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group (Outstanding Restaurateur); Topolobampo (Outstanding Service); Tanya Baker, Boarding House (Rising Star Chef of the Year); Curtis Duffy, Grace; Paul Virant, Vie; Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria; and Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia (Best Chef: Great Lakes category)

Best New Restaurant

Presented by True Refrigeration®

Bâtard, NYC

Central Provisions, Portland, ME

Cosme, NYC

Parachute, Chicago

Petit Trois, Los Angeles

The Progress, San Francisco

Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Outstanding Baker

Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston

Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington, D.C.

Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco

William Werner, Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco

Outstanding Bar Program

Presented by Tanqueray No. TEN®

Arnaud's French 75 Bar, New Orleans

Bar Agricole, San Francisco

Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY

Trick Dog, San Francisco

The Violet Hour, Chicago

Outstanding Chef

Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters

Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC

Sean Brock, Husk, Charleston, SC

Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles

Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Dana Cree, Blackbird, Chicago

Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana, Cambridge, MA

Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles

Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel, NYC

Christina Tosi, Momofuku, NYC

Outstanding Restaurant

Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL

Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC

Per Se, NYC

The Spotted Pig, NYC

Outstanding Restaurateur

JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans

Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)

Michael Mina, Mina Group, San Francisco (Michael Mina, RN74, Bourbon Steak, and others)

Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa, CA (Mustards Grill, Cindy's Back Street Kitchen, and Cindy's Waterfront at the Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia (The Dandelion, Talula's Garden, Serpico, and others);

Outstanding Service

Presented by Goose Island Beer Company

The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

Marea, NYC

Quince, San Francisco

Restaurant August, New Orleans

Topolobampo, Chicago

Outstanding Wine Program

A16, San Francisco

Bern's Steak House, Tampa, FL

FIG, Charleston, SC

McCrady's, Charleston, SC

Spago, Beverly Hills, CA

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

Presented by BACARDÍ® GRAN RESERVA

Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE

Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM

Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA

Rajat Parr, Mina Group, San Francisco

Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

Tanya Baker, Boarding House, Chicago

Alex Bois, High Street on Market, Philadelphia

Erik Bruner-Yang, Toki Underground, Washington, D.C.

Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA

Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick, ME

Ari Taymor, Alma, Los Angeles

Best Chef: Great Lakes

Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago

Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland

Paul Virant, Vie, Western Springs, IL

Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria, Chicago

Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia, Chicago

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