Ainsworth a semifinalist to win an 'Oscar of the food world'

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Walla Walla chef Chris Ainsworth has once again been named a semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation award, known as the "Oscars of the food world."

The foundation recently announced its semifinalists in 19 restaurant and chef categories. Ainsworth, founder of Alder Street restaurant Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen, made the cut for top Northwest chef for the second consecutive year.

Five nominees will be whittled from the list of 20 semifinalists. The finalists will be announced March 22. Winners will be honored May 3 at the annual awards ceremony and gala reception at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. Ainsworth is the only Eastern Washington chef in the running for the award.

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