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Locals vie for James Beard Awards 

Click for larger image • Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill is up for two prestigious James Beard awards: Best Chef of the Southeast and Outstanding Restaurant.

File photo by Jeyhoun Allebaugh

Click for larger image • Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill is up for two prestigious James Beard awards: Best Chef of the Southeast and Outstanding Restaurant.

Four Triangle chefs with revolutionary instincts made the cut as prestigious James Beard Awards semifinalists.

Congratulations to Raleigh's Ashley Christensen of Poole's (426 S. McDowell St., 832-4477, www.poolesdowtowndiner.com); Chapel Hill's Andrea Reusing of Lantern (423 W. Franklin St., 969-8846, www.lanternrestaurant.com); Bill Smith of Crook's Corner (610 W. Franklin St., 929-7643, www.crookscorner.com) and Durham's Scott Howell of Nana's (2514 University Drive, 493-8545, www.nanasdurham.com), who are competing for the title Best Chef of the Southeast.

Crook's Corner also made the list for Outstanding Restaurant, along with Durham's famed Magnolia Grill (1002 Ninth St., 286-3609, www.magnoliagrill.net). Each one of these restaurants focuses heavily on local ingredients.

The James Beard Foundation selected the nominees from 21,000 entries. The final five nominees of each category will be announced March 22 and the winners picked at the foundation's gala on May 3. Best of luck to our chefs.

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