BOISE -- A Boise chef has been chosen as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Best Chef Northwest Award. Richard Langston, the only Idaho chef on the list, is the head chef and owner at Cafe Vicino.

Langston has been cooking for 25 years, 22 in Boise, and almost seven at Cafe Vicino, the restaurant he opened.

Langston is originally from Louisiana, and went to Louisiana State University. After college he moved to Dallas, and then to San Francisco, when he realized the corporate world was not for him

I kind of realized that this is something I always wanted to do, and quit a fairly good corporate job and went to culinary school in San Francisco and worked in the Bay Area for a few years, said Langston.

He moved to Idaho after vacationing in McCall more than 20 years ago, and over the years, has built up a good base of loyal customers.

I have had such a good following of good clientele and people in the Treasure Valley who have followed me wherever I've been and still come here and support me and that's been fantastic, and that's some of those people who have called and sent emails and things like that, said Langston. But to get noticed on this level is a whole nother thing.

The James Beard Award is one of the highest honors in the culinary world.

It's like getting an Oscar nomination, it really is, to be selected and singled-out by your peers, nationally, it's a big deal, Langston said.

Judges for the James Beard Award will come eat at Cafe Vicino, unannounced, so it's fair to all the nominees.

I try to be on my A-game all the time, but I have to be on my A+ game now, Langston said.

Langston said he was never cooking to get awards, but always hoped he'd have the success in the kitchen that he did in corporate America.

It was not something I ever thought that would happen or even though about, I just have a passion for what I do and I've been doing it for a long time and I love it, said Langston.

Langston said he has gotten many congratulations from clients, other chefs, and other restaurateurs in the Treasure Valley, but he does not know who nominated him. Anyone can throw in someone's name for a nomination to get the James Beard Award. Then judges narrow it down to the semi-finals, which is the group Langston is a part of, and then, after more judging, they'll pick the winners.

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