Two Indiana chefs on James Beard Award list

by | Updates

Chef Sal Fernandez of Bridges Craft Pizza & Wine Bar in Greencastle

The “long list” of semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Restaurant & Chef Awards was released Feb. 24, and two Indiana chefs made the cut. Chef Thomas Melvin of Vida in Indianapolis and chef Sal Fernandez of Bridges Craft Pizza & Wine Bar in Greencastle are now in the running to be finalists for Best Chef: Great Lakes in the prestigious awards, often called “the Oscars of the food world.”

The semifinalist nod is the second for chef Thomas (check out our Q&A with him here) and the first for chef Sal, who noted in a Facebook post that he is honored to be included on the semifinalist list.

“Since coming to Greencastle seven years ago, I wanted to bring excellent food, a great experience and a place the community can enjoy,” he said, “Being able to now say I have been nominated, and doing so in the Greencastle community, makes it even more special.”

The list of final nominees for the awards will be released April 3 with winners being announced at the Beard Awards gala in Chicago on June 10.

Indiana has had numerous semifinalists for the awards in various categories in the Restaurant & Chef Awards, but has never had a final nominee or winner. Two Indiana restaurants have received the Beard Foundation America’s Classics designation, which honors family-owned restaurants that have been operated for at least a decade. Wagner’s Village Inn in Oldenburg was honored in 2023, and St. Elmo Steak House in 2012.

Recent Blog Posts

Counting down to the World Food Championships

Counting down to the World Food Championships

Have you noticed our countdown clock at the top of our Culinary Crossroads website? If you haven’t visited our site, please check it out. Our “countdown to the throwdown” clock shows that it’s less than 150 days until the World Food Championships begin in Indy! The...

Enjoy ice cream, onion rings, history and more in Shelbyville

Enjoy ice cream, onion rings, history and more in Shelbyville

Shelbyville, known more for pristine farmland than as a food destination, offers delicious surprises while providing a healthy dose of Hoosier history. Situated where the Big Blue and Little Blue rivers converged, the town has the distinction of being the one-time...

Around the world and back home again with Chef Daniel Orr

Around the world and back home again with Chef Daniel Orr

Columbus, Ind., native Daniel Orr left Indiana for culinary school, and his career took him around the world, from Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe to some of New York City’s top fine-dining establishments. In 2008, he came home, embraced his “inner Hoosier,” as...

Congrats to first-ever Hardesty Scholars at Ivy Tech

Congrats to first-ever Hardesty Scholars at Ivy Tech

As the school year wraps up, all of us here at Culinary Crossroads would like to congratulate our first two Hardesty Scholars on a great year! Working with the Hardesty family and Ivy Tech Community College, Culinary Crossroads awarded the first Chef Greg Hardesty...

Greencastle offers regional charm and diverse dining

Greencastle offers regional charm and diverse dining

Greencastle, a quaint town in Putnam County with a population of just under 10,000 and home to DePauw University, is a hidden gem for food enthusiasts. Its dining scene is a delightful blend of regional charm and diverse culinary experiences. While students might opt...