The James Beard Foundation, the nation's most prestigious recognition program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries, announced today the nominees for the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards. Susan Ungaro, James Beard Foundation president, hosted an invitation-only breakfast at the acclaimed Frontera Grill restaurant in Chicago, by JBF Award-winning chef Rick Bayless and JBF Trustee Deann Bayless. The nominees in 52 categories were announced in the foundation's various awards programs – Restaurant and Chef, Book, Journalism, Design and Graphics, and Broadcast Media. Honorees in a number of special achievement awards, including Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, and America's Classics, were announced as well.

Winners of the Restaurant and Chef, Book, Design and Graphics, and special achievement awards will be celebrated at the annual Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception May 4 at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. All award winners will receive a certificate and a bronze medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. This year's theme is "Celebrating Women in Food"; the event will be catered by 25 outstanding women chefs, with beverage pairings from women sommeliers and mixologists.

For the full list of nominees and the Best Chef in America nominees by region and the rest of the restaurant and chef nominees list, or for more general information, visit