The Lost Kitchen's chef and owner Erin French prepares meals during dinner service. She has been nominated for a Best Chef Northeast James Beard award. Credit: Ashley L. Conti

Eleven Maine chefs and restaurants were named as semi-finalists for the 2018 James Beard Awards, one of the most prestigious awards in the national food and dining world.

They include several first-time nominees, including The Back Bay Grill in Portland; Krista Kern Desjarlais of The Purple House, in North Yarmouth; Vien Dobui of Cong Tu Bot in Portland and Erin French of the The Lost Kitchen in Freedom. The finalists for the awards will be announced in March, and the winners will be announced in a ceremony in New York City in May.

The semi-finalists from Maine are:

Outstanding Baker
Allison Pray, Standard Baking Company, Portland

Outstanding Chef (national)
Sam Hayward, Fore Street, Portland

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Ilma Lopez, Piccolo, Portland

Outstanding Restaurant (national)
Chase’s Daily, Belfast

Outstanding Service
The Back Bay Grill, Portland

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick

Best Chef Northeast
Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House, North Yarmouth
Vien Dobui, Cong Tu Bot, Portland
Erin French, The Lost Kitchen, Freedom
Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain, Camden
Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar, Rockland

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.