Local chef left out of Chicago-dominated awards list

Anne Kearney — co-owner of Rue Dumaine restaurant in Washington Twp. who had been named by the James Beard Foundation as one of 20 semifinalists in the foundation’s “Best Chefs in America” competition for the Great Lakes region —was not among the five finalists announced this morning.

As in previous years, the Great Lakes region finalists’ list was dominated by Chicago-area chefs, with four out of the five finalists operating in Chicago or its suburbs. The fifth finalist named today was Jonathon Sawyer from The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland.

Kearney was the only chef from southwest or central Ohio to be named a semifinalist, and this was the fifth consecutive year she received that recognition. In 2012, Kearney was named one of five finalists for the Best Chef/Great Lakes award.

The James Beard Foundation Awards are regarded as the nation’s most prestigious recognition program for the food and beverage business — the equivalent of the Academy Awards of the restaurant industry. The foundation will announce the overall winners at an awards ceremony on May 4 at Lyric Opera in Chicago.

The James Beard Foundation recognized Rue Dumaine in 2008, naming it a semifinalist for the foundation’s “Best New Restaurant” in the nation. And Kearney was named a James Beard Foundation best-chef award winner in the southeastern U.S. in 2002 when she and her husband, Rue Dumaine co-owner Tom Sand, owned and operated Peristyle restaurant in New Orleans.

Kearney and Sand, Dayton-area natives, opened Rue Dumaine in 2007 at 1061 Miamisburg-Centerville Road (Ohio 725).