These 2 Indy-area chefs make James Beard list
The country’s preeminent culinary organization has recognized two Indianapolis-area chefs as being among the nation’s best.
Abbi Merriss, of Bluebeard in Indianapolis, and Samir Mohammad, of 9th Street Bistro in Noblesville, were named semifinalists Wednesday morning for James Beard Foundation awards.
The James Beard awards are considered the Oscars of the culinary world.
Merriss and Mohammad are among a field of 20 in the running for best chef in the Great Lakes region, which includes Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.
Merriss, also executive chef at Kan-Kan Cinema & Brasserie in Indianapolis, is not new to the honor, having garnered semifinals nods each year from 2016 to 2020.
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Mohammad, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America and Le Cordon Bleu, is a newbie to the list. He cures his own meats and makes his own cheeses.
“It’s definitely an honor. And I think it's an amazing thing for Indy and especially amazing thing for Noblesville,” he said. “We probably couldn't have done this nomination without the support of our community here because they've welcomed us so openly.”
Mohammad and his wife, Rachel Firestone, opened the tiny 9th Street Bistro during the coronavirus pandemic, initially selling take-and-bake meals before opening for dine-in service in September 2021. Its menu focuses on seasonal local produce and changes every month or two.
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The competition for the region includes:
Omar Anani, Saffron De Twah, Detroit, MI
Francisco Alfaro, Mid-City Restaurant, Cincinnati, Ohio;
Abra Berens, Granor Farm, Three Oaks, MI
Becky Clark, Little Fish Brewing Co., Athens, OH
Diana Dávila Boldin, Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago, IL
Thai Dang, HaiSous, Chicago, IL
Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago, IL
Tim Flores and Genie Kwon, Kasama, Chicago, IL
Norberto Garita, El Barzon, Detroit, MI
Hideki and Yuko Harada, Kiki, Cincinnati, OH
Andy Hollyday, Selden Standard, Detroit, MI
Ji Hye Kim, Miss Kim, Ann Arbor, MI
Allie La Valle-Umansky, Jeremy Umansky, and Kenny Scott, Larder Delicatessen & Bakery, Cleveland, OH
BJ Lieberman, Chapman's Eat Market, Columbus, OH
Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere, Baobab Fare, Detroit, MI
Zubair Mohajir, Wazwan, Chicago, IL
Michael Ransom, Ima Izakaya, Detroit, MI
Sarah Welch, Marrow, Detroit, MI
Nominees for the category will be announced March 29, and winners will be announced in Chicago on June 5.
Contact IndyStar reporter Cheryl V. Jackson at email@example.com or 317-444-6264. Follow her on Twitter: @cherylvjackson.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Best Indianapolis restaurants: Two local chefs make James Beard list