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James Beard Awards Come Calling Again for Cafe Juanita's Holly Smith

It is an honor all chefs aspire to achieve: the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award. Semifinalists were announced today for the 2012 awards, which includes a major nod for the second consecutive year to Kirkland’s Holly Smith, chef/owner of the much-lauded Cafe Juanita, in the category of “Outstanding Chef,” a nomination which includes chefs from all over the nation, notably David Chang (Momofuku, Ssam Bar), Suzanne

Goin (Lucques), Paul Kahan, (Blackbird), Gary Danko, (Restaurant Gary Danko), Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park) and fifteen other great chefs.

Holly’s Northern Italian inspired cooking at Cafe Juanita and Poco Carretto Gelato has received both local and national acclaim. Holly is the 2008 James Beard Foundation winner for “Best Chef Northwest” and Cafe Juanita has been recognized by Gourmet Magazine (“Top 50 Restaurants”); Robb Report (“Top 57 Fine Dining”); “Best Italian Restaurants” from Wine Spectator; received 4 stars from the Seattle Post Intelligencer; as well as a multiple year nominations from the James Beard Foundation for “Best Restaurant Service,” “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Restaurant (U.S.).” In 2009, Holly competed on the Food Network’s “Next Iron Chef and in 2010, Holly challenged and beat Iron Chef Cat Cora on “Iron Chef America.”

In addition to this exciting nomination, Chef’s Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi ( Revel, Joule) and Jason Stratton ( Spinasse, Artusi) are semifinalists in the “Best Chef: Northwest,” an honor that recognizes the chefs’ talents and reflects their outstanding contributions to the culinary scene in the region.The finalists will be announced on March 19 in Las Vegas and the winner will be feted on May 7, 2012 in New York City.Cafe Juanita prides itself on sustainable practices, a commitment to organics and local sourcing as well as building and maintaining relationships with artisan European and Italian winemakers.As Chef Owner of Cafe Juanita and Poco Carretto Gelato, Holly uses her creativity to bring a modern, local approach to food and wine. The restaurant supports local food suppliers and businesses, and contributes much to the community in Kirkland, Washington.

We look forward to bringing you more about Holly, her talented kitchen staff, and other great local venues in the Seattle area and surrounding Northwest region.


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