It is a big year for the Indianapolis culinary scene, as four Indy chefs and establishments have been named semifinalists for the 2020 James Beard Foundation’s Beard Awards. A James Beard Award is considered to be one of the most prestigious honors for restaurateur and culinary professionals, often deemed the "Oscars of the culinary world." The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to honor and nurture chefs and industry leaders who are making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable. 

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This year, Bluebeard chef Abbi Merriss is a semifinalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes category for the fifth consecutive year. Martha Hoover, founder of Patachou Inc. [Cafe Patachou, Peitie Chou, Napolese, Public Greens, Bar One Fourteen] is a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur for the sixth time. Beholder, an Indy foodie favorite, is a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Program, and Mass Ave. staple, Love Handle, is a semifinalist for the Outstanding Hospitality award. Beholder and Love Handle are the first Indianapolis restaurants to be nominated in both the Wine Program and Hospitality categories. 

Beholder wine cellar

The Indy honorees and their fellow semifinalists will be voted on by more than 600 judges from across the country who will determine the final nominees in each category. The winners will be celebrated at the 30th annual James Beard Awards on May 4 at the Lyrica Opera of Chicago. 

Merriss, Hoover, and the professionals behind Beholder and Love Handle have devoted their lives to their craft, and their passion for good food is what make Indy’s culinary scene so great. No matter the outcome, these four semifinalists have already been satisfying the taste buds of Indy locals for years, and will continue to bring pride to the city through their talents and delectable creations.