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Monday, March 19, 2012

Gerard Craft Nominated for James Beard Foundation "Best Chef: Midwest" Award [Updated]

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 2:37 PM

click to enlarge Chef Gerard Craft of Niche and its siblings - JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Jennifer Silverberg
  • Chef Gerard Craft of Niche and its siblings

Gerard Craft of Niche (1831 Sidney Street; 314-773-7755) is one of five finalists for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards in the category "Best Chef: Midwest." This is the third time that Craft has been a finalist for the award, following nominations in 2009 and 2010.

Craft was in a meeting when he heard the news: "It was exciting," he tells Gut Check.

The Beard nomination follows last week's news that Niche is one of the 100 top U.S. restaurants, according to a survey from the website Opinionated About Dining.

"It's all awesome to hear," Craft says of the accolades. "I think our team has been working so hard the past year. I think we've all been trying to push ourselves. We don't need the awards, but it's a nice pat on the back."

Craft's fellow finalists are Justin Aprahamian of Sanford in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Colby Garrelts of Bluestem in Kansas City, Missouri; Tory Miller of L'Etoile in Madison, Wisconsin; and Lenny Russo of Heartland in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The winner will be announced at the awards gala in New York City on Monday, May 7.

Craft was one of four St. Louis chefs who were semifinalists for the award, along with Josh Galliano of Monarch, Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Café and Kevin Willmann of Farmhaus.

In addition, Salt was a semifinalist for the "Best New Restaurant" category but didn't make the cut to five finalists.

Related: Survey Ranks Niche Among Top 100 Restaurants in U.S. (March 15, 2012) Gerard Craft of NBC's Today Show: Video (February 27, 2012)\ Niche, Pastaria by Niche Headed to Clayton (January 6, 2012)

This post was updated from its original version to include comment from Gerard Craft.

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