Thursday, July 18, 2024

Tallula is a James Beard Award semifinalist. (Photo: Tallula via Yelp)

Three Cambridge chefs and a Somerville wine bar have semifinalist nods for the 2024 James Beard Awards.

The James Beard Foundation considers chefs and restaurants across the country for its prestigious annual awards. It issues awards in 11 categories, ranging from Best New Restaurant to Outstanding Bakery.

“The James Beard Awards honor those who are creating exceptional food, food media content and better food systems while demonstrating a commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive,” the foundation said Wednesday.

Among the 20 chefs nominated for best chef in the Northeast were three Cambridge cooks.

Tracy Chang was the first of the Cambridge nominees. Pagu, 310 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridgeport, where Chang cooks, is no stranger to the James Beard Awards. Last year, the restaurant, which specializes in Spanish and Japanese tapas, was a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant, an honor only one other Massachusetts restaurant received in 2023.

Patricia Estorino, chef at Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., North Cambridge, was also nominated. Estorino was nominated in the same category in 2022.

Conor Dennehy, who owns and cooks at Tallula, 377 Walden St., Observatory Hill in West Cambridge, is the third Cambridge chef to earn a nod. Though he has received a variety of other accolades, this year is his first nomination for a James Beard Award.

When picking its nominees, the foundation searched for “chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities and who are making efforts to help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions, while contributing positively to their broader community,” a foundation press release said.

In the category of Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program, Somerville’s Rebel Rebel, 1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville, has been nominated for the third straight year.

The winner of this category, the foundation said in its press release, will be “a restaurant that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the pairing of wine and other beverages with food while contributing positively to its broader community.”

The foundation will announce finalist nominees April 3 and winners at a ceremony June 10.