Omnivore - Besha Rodell: On a freakin' roll!!!

We should send Besha Rodell out of town more often. While CL’s food editor has been away on vacation, we learned that Besha — previously a James Beard Foundation Award finalist — recently received two nominations from the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ).

Besha was nominated for Best Newspaper Restaurant Criticism and for Best Newspaper Food Feature (Circulation 150,000 or Fewer) — the latter for her 2006 Food Issue (“Down to Earth”), which also earned her the James Beard nomination.

It gets better. This is the first year the AFJ eliminated circulation categories in Best Newspaper Restaurant Criticism. (Bill Addison, her predecessor, frequently placed in the Circulation 150,000 or Fewer category. He’s now at the Dallas Morning News.)

That means that Besha competed against all the participating restaurant critics around the country; the other two finalists are Gail Shepherd of New Times Broward-Palm Beach and, ahem, Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post.

Her competitors in the Best Newspaper Food Feature category are Rebekah Denn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Zach Dundas of Portland, Ore., newspaper Willamette Week. (How ’bout those alt-weeklies, eh?)

Unlike the James Beard Awards, which is a winner-take-all proposition, she’s guaranteed a first-, second- or third-place finish.

The awards will be held Aug. 22-25 in Minneapolis.

Check out Besha’s reviews here.

Congrats, Besha. Now come back home.

Oh, and don’t forget: The Besha-coordinated Beer Issue is just around the corner!

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