By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Feb 15, 2018 at 10:04 AM

This morning, the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2018 awards, and Milwaukee has five reasons to be proud.

Paul and Joe Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants are up for Outstanding Restaurauteur for the second year running. Paul Bartolotta is the recipient of two past James Beard awards for his work at Spiaggia in Chicago and Ristorante di Mare in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, semifinalists for Best Chef Midwest include Karen Bell of Bavette La Boucherie, Justin Carlisle of Ardent, Thomas Hauck of c.1880; and Daniel Jacobs and Dan Van Rite of EsterEv.

Three of the four finalists for Best Chef Midwest were also nominated in 2017; Jacobs and Van Rite are first-time semifinalists for 2018.

Other Best Chef Midwest candidates from Wisconsin include Lisa Carlson of Chef Shack in Bay City, Jonny Hunter of Forequarter in Madison, Jay Sparks of Lovechild in La Crosse and Stefano Viglietti of Trattoria Stefano in Sheboygan. Chef Tory Miller's L'Etoile was also a semi-finalist for the category of Outstanding Restaurant.

The complete list of semifinalists can be found here.

The semifinal process began in October 2017 with an open call, during which anyone could nominate up to two individuals online. The JBF Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee, composed of critics, writers, and editors, culled the semifinalists from over 23,000 entries.

Semifinalists will now move on to a voting body that comprises former Beard Award winners, restaurant and Chef Award Committee members and other regional panelists who will choose five finalists in each category.

Save the Date

On March 14, the Foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories during a live press conference at the Parc restaurant in Philadelphia.  Interested viewers can watch it through the Foundation's Facebook Live video feed and in real time on Twitter.

The highly anticipated James Beard Awards ceremony and gala reception will follow on May 7 at Lyric Opera of Chicago.