DINING: James Beard semi-finalists announced

  A number of local restaurants are represented among the semifinalists for the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards.
  Las Vegan Julian Serrano, executive chef of Picasso at Bellagio, was nominated for Outstanding Chef. Among the other nominees in this category with local ties were Tom Colicchio (Craftsteak at MGM Grand), Jean Joho (The Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris Las Vegas) and Michael Mina (Michael Mina Bellagio, Stripsteak at Mandalay Bay and Nobhill Tavern and Seablue at MGM Grand).
  Other local nominees:
  Vanessa Garcia of Restaurant Charlie at the Palazzo, Rising Star Chef of the Year.
  Sage at Aria at CityCenter, Best New Restaurant.
  Kamel Guechida of Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, Outstanding Pastry Chef.
  Picasso, Outstanding Wine Service.
  Joël Robuchon and Nobhill Tavern, Outstanding Service.
  Saipin Chutima of Lotus of Siam (953 E. Sahara Ave.), Claude Le Tohic of Joël Robuchon and Rick Moonen of RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, Best Chef: Southwest.
  The semifinalists were chosen from more than 21,000 nominations. The list will be sent to a panel of more than 400 independent volunteer judges, who will determine the final five nominees in each category. Winners will be announced at an awards center May 3 in New York.