The James Beard Foundation has named the 2018 semifinalists for its annual awards honoring excellence in cuisine, culinary writing and culinary education in the United States. The awards, established in 1990, often are called “the Oscars of food.”

Finalists will be announced March 14 in Philadelphia; winners will be announced May 7 in Chicago. The Georgian nominees — most are in the metro Atlanta area — are as follows:

National awards

OUTSTANDING BAKER: Sarah O’Brien of Atlanta’s Little Tart Bakeshop (two locations plus farmers markets).

OUTSTANDING BAR PROGRAM: Decatur’s Kimball House.

OUTSTANDING WINE PROGRAM: Miller Union in West Midtown.

OUTSTANDING CHEF: Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten in Athens.

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Steve Palmer of The Indigo Road group (Oak Steakhouse in Alpharetta, O-Ku sushi in West Midtown, Colletta Italian Food & Wine at Avalon in Alpharetta, and Donetto in West Midtown).

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR (2): Parnass Savang of Atlanta’s Talat Market, Thai pop-up in Candler Park, and Brian So of Spring in Marietta.

Regional awards

BEST CHEF: SOUTHEAST (6): Atsushi Hayakawa of Sushi House Hayakawa on Buford Highway, Ryan Smith of Staplehouse (returning nominee) in Atlanta; Matthew Raiford of The Farmer & The Larder in Brunswick; Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani (Indian) in Decatur; Rui Liu of Masterpiece (Sichuan Chinese) in Duluth; and Mashama Bailey of The Grey in Savannah. Miller Union’s Steven Satterfield won Best Chef: Southeast in 2017 and can’t be nominated again for five years.

Other categories include best new restaurant; outstanding pastry chef; outstanding restaurant; outstanding service; outstanding wine, beer or spirits professional; and best chefs in the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New York City, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southwest and West regions.

Another semifinalist of interest to metro Atlanta/Georgia foodies is Duane Nutter, formerly of One Flew South and now with Southern National in Mobile, Ala., for best new restaurant.

For a complete list of the 2018 James Beard semifinalists, go HERE.