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Baltimore chef Cindy Wolf and restaurant Clavel Mezcaleria named semifinalists for James Beard Award

Chef Cindy Wolf has been named a James Beard Award semifinalist for the Best Chef: Mid Atlantic category. This is her 12th time being up for the prestigious food industry award.
Chef Cindy Wolf has been named a James Beard Award semifinalist for the Best Chef: Mid Atlantic category. This is her 12th time being up for the prestigious food industry award. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Cindy Wolf, the famed chef of Harbor East’s fine dining restaurant Charleston, and Clavel Mezcaleria, the Remington-based restaurant known for its imaginative drinks as well as its spin on Mexican cuisine, have both been named semifinalists for the James Beard Awards, one of the food industry’s highest honors.

The New York City-based James Beard Foundation announced the list Feb. 27.

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Baltimore chef Cindy Wolf again missed out on a James Beard Award. She was bested by Jeremiah Langhorne of The Dabney, a restaurant in Washington.

Clavel Mezcaleria, which opened in 2015, was named to the Outstanding Bar Program category. The restaurant serves an array of drinks from the traditional margarita to complex cocktails such as Almohada, a sweet, frothy rum-based cocktail served in a clay vessel, and Amadonervo, a concoction featuring a myriad of ingredients such as raw cilantro honey, lime, Naveran vintage sparkling cava rosé, and red alder wood smoked black salt.

Lane Harlan, the owner of Clavel Mezcaleria could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Wolf was named to the Best Chef: Mid Atlantic list. With today’s announcement, the executive chef of the elevated low-country cuisine restaurant has been named to the semifinalist list 12 times. Wolf has never won the category. She’s been a finalist seven times.

“I am honored and also excited for the country to understand what a great city Baltimore is — we have so much to offer here — our waterways, farmers, good people, museums, amazing ethnic neighborhoods, and, well, soul,” Wolf wrote to The Baltimore Sun in an e-mail.

In 1995, Wolf opened Savannah, a restaurant at the Admiral Fell Inn in Fells Point with her then-husband Tony Foreman. After a two year stint there, the pair moved the investor-backed restaurant to the end of Exeter Street and renamed it Charleston.

This is the 29th year for the awards. Final nominees will be announced March 27 in Houston. Winners will be named at a gala this May in Chicago.

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