The names are in, and Triad-area chefs and restaurants are well-represented in the semifinal stage of this year's James Beard Awards.

The highly coveted annual award dates back to 1990. It's presented by the James Beard Foundation to recognize the best culinary professionals in the country by highlighting chefs, restaurants, authors, and journalists. This year's Best New Restaurant contenders include Greensboro's MACHETE featuring creative American cuisine. And in the Best Chef of the Southeast category, two Winston-Salem chefs are represented: Mission Pizza's Peyton Smith and Sweet Potatoes' Stephanie Tyson.

Tyson says she does what she does so customers eat there and become return customers, but this nod from the Beard Foundation is icing on the cake.

“It's a good feeling that somebody else outside of your customer base recognizes what you do,” says Tyson. “When something like that happens, it kind of — not legitimizes but it — it says, ‘Okay, you made the right choice. You made the choice of not theater, but cooking. You know, that was a better choice for you.'”

The James Beard 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony will take place in Chicago, on Monday, June 13. 

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