BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The “Oscars of the culinary world,” better known as the James Beard Awards, are happening in New York City on April 26, and two Birmingham-area restaurants are on the ballot in select categories.

Timothy Hontzas, owner and chef of the restaurant Johnny’s in Homewood, is a finalist for Best Chef in the South. Hontzas, who has been nominated four times in the category over the years, opened Johnny’s in 2012.

Hontzas is up against chefs from restaurants in Florida and Louisiana, to name a few.

Joining Hontzas as a finalist is Bottega, an American-South-meets-Italian-countryside restaurant representing Birmingham in the Outstanding Hospitality category presented by American Airlines.

Bottega is owned by Chef Frank Stitt, who won the JBFA for Best Chef in the Southeast in 2001. Bottega has also been the workplace of Roscoe Hall, a chef and artist who went to compete on Top Chef in 2021.

Hontzas and Bottega are both up against four other finalists in their respective categories, but they are representing Birmingham with pride in the culinary community.