Jorel Pierce a semi-finalist for James Beard Rising Star; four more Denver chefs make the cut

Categories: The Dish

Thumbnail image for Jorel 1.jpg
Lori Midson
Jorel Pierce, rising star.
The James Beard Foundation has just released its list -- its long list -- of semi-finalists, and several Denver area restaurants and chefs have made the cut.

Jorel Pierce may have gotten bumped from Top Chef early, but the exec chef at Euclid Hall made the cut for Rising Star Chef of the Year. And Frank Bonanno of Bonanno Concepts (Mizuna, Luca D'Italia, Osteria Marco, et. al.) is again on the list for Outstanding Restaurateur.

See also:
- Exclusive: Leigh Sullivan announces the new troop of Denver FIVE chefs: Selby, Yontz, Pierce, Kleinman and Morrison
- Chef and Tell with Jorel Pierce
- Chef and Tell with Frank Bonanno
- Chef and Tell with Alex Seidel
- Chef and Tell with Mac Mackissock
- Chef and Tell with Jennifer Jasinski


Williams & Graham
is a semi-finalist for Outstanding Bar Program; Frasca Food and Wine is a semi-finalist for Outstanding Wine Program.

And in the Best Chef: Southwest category, Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja (and Bistro Vendome and Euclid), Max Mackissock of Squeaky Bean (who also happens to be Jasinski's husband) and Alex Seidel of Fruition are among the twenty semi-finalists.

The 2013 James Beard Foundation finalists will be announced on Monday, March 18. In the meantime, read the full list of James Beard semi-finalists here.



Location Info

Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

1317 14th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Mizuna

225 E. 7th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Williams & Graham

3160 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Frasca Food and Wine

1738 Pearl St., Boulder, CO

Category: Restaurant

Rioja

1431 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Squeaky Bean

1500 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Fruition

1313 E. 6th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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10 comments
seankenyon13
seankenyon13

I worked with Chef Jorel for a while and I can tell you from personal experience that he is one of the most talented, energetic and passionate chefs that I have ever worked with in my 27 year career in the industry. I have had conversations with many of the Top Chef contestants and the one thing that they have all said is that the editors and producers of the show can make you look however they want you to. Jorel may have said more or even disqualified his comments, but that part is left on the cutting room floor because it is convenient for the show to make him look cocky. Go to Euclid, eat his food, an go from there. You will change your tune.

Be Well,

Sean Kenyon

DenverDoughboy
DenverDoughboy

On Top Chef, Pierce came off as a cocky newbie who didn't even know how to break down a chicken.  If that's the best that Denver has to offer, we're in trouble.     

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

@DenverDoughboyYou are judging people by how they come off in a few minutes of edited television; edited for ratings and drama and not for truthfulness.  If you are the best that Denver has to offer in terms of sound analysis, we're in trouble.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@DenverDoughboy So what are you going to believe?

  1. A reality TV show where the ratings are driven more by personalities and conflict than by actual talent or cooking skills, and where many of the contests have little or nothing to do with the real world of creating and executing a consistent and creative menu
  2. A non-profit organization dedicated to researching the best restaurants in the country and honoring regional and national excellence regardless of individual fame or strength of personality.

Entertainment or excellence - seems like an easy choice.

beername
beername

@Bagwhan @DenverDoughboy Also working against him:  he got stuck with Tom C and his jackass challenge.  i think the contestants under the other chefs had a way easier time of it.  It was the unluck of the draw.

DenverDoughboy
DenverDoughboy

I might actually go with Top Chef in this case because I believe my eyes a little more than I believe some award factory 1000 miles away.   As I recall the show, Pierce was on camera bragging about his knife skills and how he can butcher in his sleep.   And then when it came time to cut up the chicken, he was fumbling around, didn't ask a basic question about bone-in or not, and seemed a bit slow witted.   Maybe he was very nervous, but he showed a lot of inexperience.  But the ultimate guide of course is going to Euclid Hall and eating a meal and I readily admit I have not been so if someone wants to shut me up on that score, be my guest.

TheJeff
TheJeff

@DenverDoughboy I've eaten dozens of meals at Euclid Hall.  Chef Pierce knows what he's doing and the James Beard Honor is well deserved.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@DenverDoughboy Yeah, I think if you haven't eaten food actually cooked by a chef, it's pretty difficult to judge, especially based on how they edit a TV show. Don't forget that any reality show is going to be heavily edited to show only the extremes of any contestant's behavior. Some truly excellent chefs have been shown the door pretty quickly over the years. Pierce's choice of how he cut up a chicken in a 15-minute challenge in front of a camera says very little about how good or bad the chicken will be in his restaurant. 

And even if the James Beard Foundation is located in NYC, they don't give out the awards without eating the food of those nominated. I don't know why you'd trust a TV show whose primary goal is to sell products through commercial advertising over a non-profit group whose sole reason for existence is to promote good food in America.

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