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To read more from Sarah Baker Hansen, go to her blog, OMAvore.
Two Omaha chefs are semifinalists for the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards.
Clayton Chapman, of The Grey Plume, is nominated for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award and Paul Kulik, of The Boiler Room, is nominated for the Best Chef: Midwest award.
Chapman was nominated for the same award in 2011. This is Kulik's first nomination.
The James Beard Foundation awards are the nation's most prestigious recognition program honoring people in the food and beverage industry.
This year, the foundation received more than 57,000 online entries, nearly a 50 percent increase from the previous year and the most in the Awards' history.
The five finalists in each category will be announced in Las Vegas on Monday, March 19.
The list of semifinalist nominees is sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 550 judges from across the country.
This panel, which is made of leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators and past James Beard Foundation Award-winners, votes on specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category.
The same judges then vote on these five nominees to select the winners.
Click here to see the full list of nominees.