James Beard Foundation Teams Up With Visit Orlando to Announce 2014 Award Semifinalists in Florida

James Beard Chefs 2013

The James Beard Foundation and the official tourism association Visit Orlando announced that the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists will be revealed at a live press conference in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 19, 2014. This is the first time the semifinalists will be announced at a live event in a location outside of New York City.

Twenty Semifinalists in each Restaurant and Chef award category will be revealed at a 10 a.m. press conference and breakfast at East End Market (3201 Corrine Drive, Orlando, Florida), a community food hub for entrepreneurs, tradespeople, artists and chefs. On the evening before the press conference, a ticketed dinner will be held at the Alfond Inn at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. The event will feature a prestigious group of Orlando's past James Beard Foundation Award nominees. Proceeds from the dinner will support the James Beard Foundation and tickets can be purchased here. Registration will open on Friday, Dec. 20 at 9 a.m. (EST).

"We're thrilled to give special and well-deserved recognition to semifinalists this year," said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. "With a flourishing farm-to-table movement and a growing independent restaurant scene, Orlando provides a fitting setting for our first live semifinalist announcement." In 2013, Orlando led Florida as the city with the most JBF award semifinalists; during the same year, Zagat also published its first Orlando City Guide.

"Orlando is the perfect destination to host the James Beard Foundation's first live semifinalist announcement," said George Aguel, president & CEO of Visit Orlando. "Our diverse collection of high-quality restaurants and chefs has created a vibrant culinary scene that is receiving national recognition."
Semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards, the culinary industry's most prestigious recognition program, are selected from thousands of online entries, a process that's overseen by a committee of industry professionals. After a first round of voting by committee members, judges and previous winners, the semifinalists are then narrowed down to a final list of official nominees, which will be announced in March 2014. The JBF Restaurant & Chef Awards comprise 20 categories representing a wide variety of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in 10 regions across the U.S., to the nation's top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, and rising star chefs.


Visit Orlando Gives Back for the Holidays

Visit Orlando team members donated Publix gift cards to Grand Avenue. 

Whether it be volunteering, making a financial contribution, or writing our servicemen a holiday card, there are endless ways to give back this holiday season. This year, instead of a traditional holiday toy drive, Visit Orlando team members gathered together to collect Publix gift cards for children and families at Grand Avenue Primary Learning Center. In total, more than $550 was collected as part of the holiday drive.  On behalf of the travel and tourism industry, Visit Orlando hopes that this small contribution will help put food on the table and a smile on the faces of several children and families in need.


corporate Blog