For the fourth consecutive year, Anne Kearney, co-owner of Rue Dumaine restaurant in Washington Twp. has 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.
Kearney was the only chef from southwest or central Ohio to be named; the only two other chefs from Ohio to make the list were from Cleveland: Douglas Katz from Fire Food & Drink and Jonathon Sawyer from The Greenhouse Tavern.
Kearney advanced to the finalist stage in 2012, becoming one of five finalists in the Beard Foundation’s Great Lakes Region that includes Ohio and which also includes Chicago. The Chicago area has dominated the nominations for the regional “best chef” category through the years. Half of this year’s 20 semifinalists are from Chicago.
The James Beard Foundation Awards are widely regarded as the nation’s most prestigious recognition program honoring those in the food and beverage business — a sort of Academy Awards of the restaurant industry. The foundation will announce five finalists in each category on March 18, and the winners will be unveiled at an awards ceremony on May 5 at the Lincoln Center in New York City.
The James Beard Foundation recognized Rue Dumaine in 2008, naming it a semifinalist for the foundation’s “Best New Restaurant” in the country. 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, both natives of the Dayton area, returned home and opened Rue Dumaine in 2007 at 1061 Miamisburg-Centerville Road (Ohio 725).