The 2012 James Beard semifinalists were just announced, and the list spotlights a new crop of culinary heavyweights from around the country and their all-star cuisine.
To celebrate, we’ve gathered some of their favorite recipes to make at home. From old-school meatballs to crowd-pleasing chicken and dumplings, these recipes are what the chefs make when they’re outside of their restaurant’s kitchen and are entertaining family and friends.
Make your favorite dish and watch the awards streamed live online for the first time on Eater.com on May 7.
Best Chef: New York City
Anita Lo is the chef of Annisa restaurant located in Manhattan’s West Village. One of her favorite dishes to make at home is her Auntie Beth’s Chicken Paprikash, which is featured in her cookbook “Without Borders.”
Best Chef: Pacific
Michael Chiarello, the chef of Bottega restaurant in Yountville, Calif., says potato gnocchi is the go-to celebratory dish in his house. “Whether it’s Christmas, my kid’s birthdays or a special occasion, the gnocchi has always been one dish that’s used to celebrate,” he says. “It’s something you put a lot of love into and do for people you really care about.”
Best Chef: South
Vishwesh Bhatt is the executive chef of Snack Bar in Oxford, Miss. Some of his favorite dishes to make at home include pork kabobs, grilled okra, and black eyed pea stew.
Chris Hastings is chef and owner of Hot and Hot Fish Cub in Birmingham, Ala. Hastings recently beat Bobby Flay in Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” when he whipped up his southern-inspired cuisine.
Best Chef: Northeast
Boston’s Jamie Bissonnette is the chef/partner of Toro and Coppa. “Tripe is one of my favorite foods to eat and to cook, especially at home,” Bissonnette said. “This approachable recipe from Toro is a great beginner’s tripe dish. I make it all the time for company because it’s easy and it surprises people.”
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Executive chef and owner of New York’s Recette, Jesse Schenker was included in Zagat’s “30 Hottest Chefs Under 30″ list. “I wanted something that was soft in texture so the whole dish would be creamy on the palate…I wanted to stick to classic flavor combinations for the carpaccio as well as the burrata so I thought an earthy porcini puree and an acid tomato jam would complement the two without taking away from the simplicity,” Schenker said. “I decided making a basil seed vinaigrette would not only look interesting, but add a nice textural component and the bitterness of the peppercress played great with the richness of the burrata and the sweetness of the tomato.”
Already a Beard winner, Marc Vetri opened Vetri in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1998. His rustic Italian cooking and integrity are what Vetri believes make his restaurant great: “My father (Sal) instilled three things in me. (1): Always work for yourself—not matter what, be the boss; (2) Always have integrity—you are only as good as your words; (3) Always use veal, pork and beef in meatballs.”
Outstanding Wine Service
Karen and Quinn Hatfield’s restaurant, Hatfield’s, received a Michelin star in 2008. In 2011, they moved to a larger space on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles, Calif. On entertaining at home, the couple says the goal is to “surprise people with interesting combinations and techniques, while keeping it rustic and approachable.”
“Cooking at home shouldn’t be restaurant cooking, so this helps to keep it homey and flavorful,” they said. ” It’s a great example of how to use interesting ingredients in a unique way while maintaining simplicity.”