It's time once again for the James Beard Foundation Awards. The annual ‘Oscars’ of the culinary world recently announced its list of semi-finalists, and St. Louis is represented in a big way. Chefs GERARD CRAFT (Niche); KEVIN WILLMANN (Farmhaus); KEVIN NASHAN (Sidney Street Cafe); JOSH GALLIANO (The Libertine); and BEN POREMBA (Elaia) all are in the running for the title of Best Chef: Midwest. Chef RICK LEWIS of Quincy Street Bistro has been tapped as a contender for Rising Star Chef of the Year, and Taste in the CWE has been nominated for Outstanding Bar Program. Finalists for the awards will be announced on March 18, in Chicago, and the winners will be revealed in NYC in May. Congrats to all, good luck and thanks for representing St. Louis' culinary scene so well!

The 6th Annual FestivAle event will be held this Saturday, March 8, at Neo on Locust (2801 Locust Street). Proceeds will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In addition to celebrating the St. Louis region's beer scene, light bites from some of the area's top restaurants are involved in the fun this year. Among the highlights of the event will be a VIP reception that will include a panel discussion with PHIL WYMORE and CORY KING of Perennial Artisan Ales, and a tasting of a special VIP-only brew. Tickets are available at the door, online at or by calling the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at 733-1241.

A couple of closings to report: Chill Frozen Yogurt in Clayton officially closed its doors last Saturday, March 2. It's been announced that another local concern, Yo My Goodness Frozen Yogurt, will be moving into the Chill space at 7610 Wydown Ave. later this month. And BlackFinn Grill in the Galleria has shuttered, as well. No word on the reason for either closure.

Grub Street, New York Magazine's dining blog, recently issued a list of the 101 Most Amazing American Doughnut Shops With Serious Street Cred, and three local doughnut purveyors made the cut: Strange Donuts; World's Fair Donuts; and Donut Stop. Congrats!

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