The 2014 James Beard Award Nominees Announced

03/18/2014 at 12:30 PM ET

James Beard medal
Victor Spinelli/WireImage

The envelope, please:  On Tuesday, the James Beard Foundation, one of the country’s leading culinary non-profit organizations, announced the finalists for its annual awards, which will be handed out in May.

These awards are to food what the Oscars are to film or the Grammys are to music. Okay, James Beard recipients get cool oversize medals instead of statuettes, but other similarities are key: The nominees have worked hard to reach this career milestone, the awards are doled out at a fancy party where everyone who’s anyone shows up to schmooze and there’s an long list of categories that cover all kinds of expertise.

About that list: You can read all of the categories here, but we’ve summarized some of the most highly anticipated races below. Best of luck to the nominees — and may the Beard odds be ever in your favor.

OUTSTANDING CHEF
Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, SC
Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles
David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR
Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig, Chicago
Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC
Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
David Posey, Blackbird, Chicago
Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, WA

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF
Dominique Ansel, Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC
Dana Cree, Blackbird, Chicago
Belinda Leong, b. patisserie, San Francisco
Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Christina Tosi, Momofuku, NYC

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT
Hearth, NYC
Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL
The Slanted Door, San Francisco
Spiaggia, Chicago
wd~50, NYC

BEST NEW RESTAURANT
Betony, NYC
Carbone, NYC
Coqueta, San Francisco
Estela, NYC
Pêche Seafood Grill, New Orleans

OUTSTANDING BAR
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
The Bar at the NoMad Hotel, NYC
Clyde Common, Portland, OR
Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY
The Violet Hour, Chicago

BEST BOOK (GENERAL COOKING)
One Good Dish
David Tanis
(Artisan)

Smoke: New Firewood Cooking
Tim Byres
(Rizzoli New York)

Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate
Richard Blais
(Clarkson Potter Publishers)

BEST TELEVISION SHOW (IN STUDIO OR FIXED LOCATION)
Heartland Table
Host: Amy Thielen
Network: Food Network
Producers: Random House Television and Tavola Production

Lidia’s Kitchen
Host: Lidia Bastianich
Network: PBS
Producer: Tavola Production

Martha Stewart’s Cooking School
Host: Martha Stewart
Network: PBS
Producers: Greta Anthony, Christina Deyo, Michael Morrison, Martha Stewart, Calia Van Dyk, and Lisa Wagner

—Lexi Dwyer

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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