By: Elizabeth Dinan, Seacoast Online
Matt Louis, chef and owner of Moxy restaurant, has been named a semifinalist for a 2017 James Beard Award in the category of “Best Chef Northeast.”
Also owner of Portsmouth’s Franklin Oyster House restaurant, Louis was chosen among a list of national candidates for the award established in 1990 to recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement. This is the fourth time Louis has been selected as a James Beard finalist, from a national culinary talent pool. He’s the only New Hampshire chef nominated this year.
“I am very grateful that our team and community is being recognized by such an important organization and foundation,” Louis said. “It’s a diverse list, which shows the amazing creative talent that is out there.”
Louis said he believes there are many people who are not on the finalist list who deserve to be, “so when you are on it, you have to be grateful.”
He said the selection committee is comprised of food writers, chefs and past winners, all of whom are well respected in the culinary world. At Moxy, Louis said, he’s inspired by New England’s culinary history and product, creating new dishes nightly to be shared.
Each dish celebrates local bounty, quite possibly foraged or grown by Louis and his team,” his team announced.
Oysters headline at The Franklin, where Louis himself shucks behind the bar. He said he’s “a huge supporter of Portsmouth’s Great Bay oysters” and has his own oyster, “The Franklin,” farmed in Great Bay six miles from the restaurant.
Called the “the Oscars of the food world,” the James Beard Awards cover 10 regional Best Chef categories as well as national categories like Outstanding Chef, Rising Star Chef of the Year and Outstanding Bar Program.
The restaurant chef semifinalists are chosen after an open call period by a committee of critics, writers and editors. The list moves on to the next step when former Beard Award winners, the committee and other regional panelists cast their votes to determine the five finalists for each category, which will be announced May 7, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
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