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It’s an assured sign of spring that the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists have just been released. Now begin several months of hype, handicapping, and occasional conspiracy theorizing: on March 22 the finalists are announced, and on May 3 the winners get their medals.

Among the roughly 20 picks in each category, determined by a panel of 400 judges, are more than a few perennially nodded-to locals, and some newbies too: