Vishwesh Bhatt’s got a 2018 James Beard Award on the front burner

Vishwesh Bhatt.

The chef at Snackbar, an upscale restaurant that serves Southern and French food, is among the nominees for the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards. Vishwesh Bhatt, a native of Gujarat, was nominated in the best chef category.

Nominees were announced March 14 in New York in nearly 60 categories of the foundation's various awards programs, including restaurant and chef, restaurant design, who’s who of food and beverage in America and media.

Other Indian-American nominees include Deepa Thomas, author of “Deepa’s Secrets” in the category of health and special diet books; New York Times reporter-columnist Tejal Rao in the category of feature reporting for his article “A Day in the Life of a Food Vendor.”

Winners of the 2018 James Beard Media Awards will be announced at an exclusive event honoring the nation's top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts and food journalists at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan on April 27. Winners of the remaining awards will be announced at the James Beard Awards Gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on May 7, the foundation said in a press release.

In January 2017, National Public Radio did a story about Bhatt, describing how he uses traditional Southern ingredients, like catfish, grits or macaroni and cheese to prepare dishes using Indian flavors and techniques. The report said that when he was 17, Bhatt’s family moved to France briefly before coming to the U.S. Their first stop in the U.S. was Austin, Texas. Food became a way for Bhatt to make himself at home in his new country.

He eventually went to college in Kentucky. He studied political science, but he also learned to cook, the report said.

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