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Canadian cookbooks pepper 2012 James Beard award short list

Canadian cookbook authors and restaurateurs have scored a bumper crop of nominations for James Beard Awards, the New York-based James Beard Foundation's annual food publishing and restaurant industry honours.

The James Beard short list, announced on Monday, includes Toronto author (and two-time winner) Jennifer McLagan, the Montreal-based crew behind Joe Beef restaurant's best-selling cookbook, Ottawa-raised chef Hugh Acheson, and expat Canadian sommelier Paul Grieco.

Ms. McLagan's most recent cookbook, called Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal, is short-listed in the "single subject" category. She won cookbook of the year with her last book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, and also won a Beard for her debut effort, Bones: Recipes, History and Lore.

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"Of course I'm happy, but it also feels like a yoke," Ms. McLagan said on Tuesday. "If I wasn't nominated I'd have to jump out of a window or something."

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts, by chefs David McMillan and Frédéric Morin and writer Meredith Erickson, was short-listed in the category "cooking from a professional point of view," alongside two heavy-hitters, the lavish and highly influential Eleven Madison Park: the Cookbook, as well as Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, the six-volume, $600 set that's been called the most important cookbook of the past century.

Hugh Acheson, the Ottawa-born and trained chef who is a leader of the southern United States' new Southern cooking movement, was shortlisted in the best American category for his cookbook A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for your Kitchen. He's also been shortlisted for best chef in the U.S. Southeast, for work at Five and Ten, his restaurant in Athens, Ga.

And Paul Grieco, who grew up working in his family's Toronto restaurant, the high-Italian, Trudeau-era landmark called La Scala, is up for the award for outstanding wine, beer and spirits professional. Mr. Grieco is a partner and the wine director at Hearth restaurant, as well as three wine bars called Terroir, all in New York.

Ms. McLagan said she won't be going to the awards gala in New York this May. "I hate to lose," she said.

Editor's Note: Paul Grieco is a partner and the wine director at Hearth restaurant, as well as three wine bars called Terroir, all in New York. Incorrect information appeared in the original version of this story.

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