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It's down to the finalists for the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards, and two Kentuckians are up for the prestigious national award.

Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia is one of five finalists for best chef in the southeast. The region includes Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. Chef Anthony Lamas of Seviche had previously been named a semi-finalist in that category.

Julian P. Van Winkle III is a finalist for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional Award. Van Winkle runs Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, known for its Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve bourbon.

The James Beard Foundation is an organization "dedicated to celebrating, preserving, and nurturing America's culinary heritage and diversity," according to the foundation's website.

Photo: Courtesy of the James Beard Foundation

Visit www.ashleeeats.com to read more from Ashlee Clark.

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