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Gnocco chef named a semifinalist for Zagat's '30 under 30' list

Chef Brian Lavin of Gnocco in Highlandtown.
Chef Brian Lavin of Gnocco in Highlandtown. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Brian Lavin, the chef-owner of Gnocco, has been named a semifinalist on Zagat's first national "30 under 30" list.

Lavin was the only Maryland chef named to the list. Nearby, Washington had three semifinalists, and four Pennsylvania chefs made the list, as well.

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Lavin, 27, opened Gnocco in Brewers Hill in June 2016, offering Mediterranean cuisine inspired by his travels to Spain and Italy.

Gnocco, the dream of local chef Brian Lavin, is a restaurant you don't want to overlook. The space is charming, and the Mediterranean-inspired food is terrific.

He is among 60 semifinalists for Zagat's list, which will be narrowed to 45 finalists in June. The final 30 will be named in September.

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Prior to opening Gnocco last year with his friend Sam White (the restaurant's general manager), Lavin served as executive chef at Fork & Wrench in Canton. Before that he was executive chef at Salt Tavern in Butchers Hill.

Zagat rates restaurants based on diner reviews and creates dining guides to cities across the country. In the past, Zagat has released 30-under-30 lists concentrated within foodie cities like New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Washington. This year marks the first time the organization is creating an all-encompassing national list.

Zagat took an open call for nominees in January from readers, its local editors, previous honorees and industry insiders. In addition to being under 30, nominees must work in the food industry and possess an air of "undeniable awesomeness," according to Zagat's website. The semifinalists were selected by a panel of editorial experts.

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