Saffron chef once again a James Beard semifinalist

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Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen owner and chef Chris Ainsworth has racked his sixth nomination as a semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation Award.

Ainsworth was listed among the 20 semifinalists for Best Chef: Northwest in an announcement from the foundation on Wednesday.

He is the only one from Eastern Washington to make the cut.

For chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, wine writers and more, the Beard awards are known as the “Oscars of the food world.”

Awards are presented for Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Bar Program, Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Pastry Chef, Outstanding Restaurant, Outstanding Restaurateur, Outstanding Service and many more, including Best Chef across 10 regional categories in the U.S.

The lists of semifinalists will be pared down. Finalists will be announced March 19. The 2014 James Beard Awards will be in early May in New York City.

Ainsworth has been a mainstay among Northwest semifinalists for years now.

He and his wife, Island Ainsworth, run Saffron as well as neighboring Pho Sho on Alder Street.

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