Buffalo can stick another feather in its culinary cap. Ellen and Steven Gedra, the wife and husband team behind The Black Sheep, have been put forth as semifinalists for a coveted James Beard Award–a food world honor equivalent to receiving an Oscar nod. Contending for the title of Best Chef: Northeast, the duo is pitted against 19 other kitchen luminaries from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York State (excluding New York City, which has its own category), Rhode Island, and Vermont.
According to the James Beard Foundation, Best Chef nominations are extended to chefs with at least five years experience who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions.
That is certainly true of the Gedras who, in addition to having a way with baking and showcasing Western New York produce, have been among the talent leading the charge to set new local benchmarks for dining excellence. In recognition of their achievements and prowess, the Gedras were invited to serve dinner at New York City’s James Beard House in October 2016.
The James Beard Foundation will announce the final list of nominees on March 15, and winners in each category will be honored at an awards gala in Chicago on May 1.