The James Beard Award for Best Chef is nothing to sneeze in your soup at. In fact, it’s one of the most respected honors a culinary expert can take home. Regina Mehallick, Chef and owner of a top Indianapolis restaurant called R Bistro, took home the semifinalist nomination for the prize last month.
The awards are divided into several categories in order to hone in on the eventual winners by sifting through some 21,000 entries. There are Best Chef categories for the Great Lakes area, the Mid-Atlantic area, the Midwest,the Northeast, the Northwest, the Pacific, the South, the Southeast, the Southwest, and New York City claims its own category.
Regina Mehallick’s nomination belongs in the Great Lakes category, placing her squarely in competition with the superb chefs of Chicago, Illinois and several other states in the Great Lakes region. She is one of only twenty chefs in that category, and the only chef from the state of Indiana.
Whether Chef Regina wins or loses, the nomination will endure as a great honor for her and for her restaurant.
|See Chef Regina make Tofu Lettuce Wraps in this rare video shot by Channel 8 WISH TV inside the meticulously-kept kitchen of R Bistro.|
Regina Mehallick took her culinary degree from a South Carolina culinary school called Johnson and Wales. After that, she set off to see some of the world’s gastronomical centers in the kitchens of England, Scotland, Ireland and Sicily. Upon her return to this country, she landed a job cooking at the prestigious Canterbury Hotel in Indianapolis.
In 2001, she opened R Bistro, and the awards started rolling in. The cuisine at this unique Indianapolis restaurant is usually described as “contemporary All-American,” and definitely gourmet.
Of the many excellent, often world-class downtown Indianapolis restaurants, R Bistro is a favorite to a long and growing list of fans. Owner-operator Chef Regina insists on “farmer-fresh” ingredients and changes her menu accordingly. She even puts the name of the farmer on the menu of the day, so you can drop them a note to rave about the ultimate outcome of their food products.
The R Bistro Restaurant seats 56 in a nice, homelike atmosphere reminiscent of a little place you might stumble across in the south of France. The location is further enhanced by its presence in one of the key cultural districts of Indianapolis, called Mass Ave. The eclectic, artistic vibe of the neighborhood makes it the perfect choice for Chef Regina’s culinary creativity.
There’s a new menu each week, for both lunch and dinner. Customers are liable to find anything from Slow-Roasted Duck Legs with Beggerman’s Stew and Onion Ginger Chutney to Ruby-Glazed Corned Beef and Salmon-Saffron Crepes on the rotating menu.
Regina Mehallick is a high-profile, likable Hoosier in the news. Stop by sometime and see what award-winning, country-fresh, gourmet comfort food tastes like. You can watch Chef Regina working her magic through the kitchen window.
R Bistro Restaurant
888 Massachusetts Av
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Visit Chef Regina’s R Bistro website online
Read all about the James Beard Awards online