On Tuesday, February 19 the James Beard Award semifinalists were announced, and for the third year in a row, Champe Speidel of Persimmon was listed in the category of “Best Chef: Northeast.” Persimmon was also listed for “Outstanding Service,” a first time for that honor.
Persimmon co-owner Lisa Speidel acknowledges that the service recognition is a nice addition, and one that has not often been given to a Rhode Island restaurant, if ever. “It’s truly an honor to be mentioned in such great company. We are thrilled and so grateful to our entire team—front and back—for their dedication, passion and hard work. It’s an amazing acknowledgment, and it’s particularly neat this year to have our kitchen crew and service team both recognized. Our goal from day-one has always been to create the total package, a restaurant with a strong culinary vision that promotes hospitality in its purest sense.”
Semifinalists will be narrowed down to nominees on March 18, and the winner in each category will be announced at a gala in New York City on May 6. Until then, Champe and Lisa will keep on doing what they have been doing since opening in downtown Bristol in the spring of 2005. “We’re ecstatic, but we’re also determined and excited to work that much harder and get that much better. That’s the fun of this industry!”