BILLINGS - Eight Montana restaurants and chefs have been named among dozens of semifinalists nationwide in the annual James Beard Awards.
Among the semifinalists is The Backporch BBQ restaurant in Roundup, which has landed a spot in the Best New Restaurant category.
"We have always believed in our vision, our team, and our town," the restaurant said on its Facebook page. "We could not be more proud to announce that The Backporch has been selected as a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in the country by the James Beard Foundation. The James Beard Foundation Awards, are the food industry’s highest honor. Time magazine called them “the Oscars of the food world.”
"These are the moments we dream of. New restaurants open every single day and we are one of only 30 restaurants selected from Alaska to Florida. Roundup, I hope you are proud of this. It truly is your Backporch. You have built us and we are so proud and grateful for your support."
"Welcome to Roundup, where the cowboys ride; and now home of the James Beard Semi-finalist restaurant The Backporch."
Also making the list of semifinalists in Montana is Billings pastry shop owner Veronica Baukema, who landed a spot in the Outstanding pastry Chef or Baker category. She operates Veronika's Pastry Shop in downtown Billings.
Also landing a semifinalist spot in the award program this year are Chris Lockhart and Danny Mowatt of PREROGATIvE Kitchen in Red Lodge. They are among four chefs from Montana recognized as semifinalists for the contest in the Mountain Region.
And finally, Albert McDonald is a semifinalist for Outstanding Restauranteur for his work at the Pizza Campania and Backcountry Burger Bar in Bozeman and the Mint Cafe and Bar in Belgrade.
The James Beard Foundation is "a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability," according to its website.