By Richard Asinof
NEW YORK – Two Rhode Islanders – Bruce Tillinghast at New Rivers in Providence and Sai Viswanath of DeWolf Tavern in Bristol – were among 20 semifinalists for “Best Chef: Northeast” in the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards announced Friday.
Beau Vestal, executive chef at New Rivers, said: “We’re very thrilled. We’re not sure why Rhode Island isn’t more represented. There are some amazing restaurants that should be included with us.”
Vestal said that New Rivers had been consistently names as a semifinalist in the James Beards Foundation Awards in recent years. The last time that the restaurant had been a finalist was in 1997, he said.
There’s a much larger market in the Boston metro area, Vestal said, explaining in part why so few Rhode Island restaurants and chefs were listed.
The other semifinalists from the Northeast “best chef” awards included: seven chefs from Massachusetts, two from Vermont, four from New York, four from Maine and one from Connecticut.
Rhode Island restaurants and chefs were shut out of the national semifinalist award categories, which included Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Restaurant, Rising Star Chef of the Year, Best New Restaurant and Outstanding Pastry Chef.
The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit whose mission is “to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of our culinary excellence.” To see the complete list of 2010 semifinalists, CLICK HERE.