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Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels of 18 Bay on Shelter Island are James Beard Awards semifinalists

James Beard semifinalists Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels,

James Beard semifinalists Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels, chef-owners of 18 Bay on Shelter Island, in 2011. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Two Long Island chefs are semifinalists for America’s most prestigious restaurant award.

Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels, the chef-owners of 18 Bay on Shelter Island, were named semifinalists in the James Beard Foundation Awards’ competition for best chef in the Northeast.

18 Bay, which serves an Italian-inspired small-plates menu, is among 20 in the Northeast region whose chefs made the cut. Five finalists will be announced on March 14; the winner, in May.

18 Bay has been a mainstay on Newsday’s annual list of the Island’s top 100 restaurants. It opened in 2005 in Bayville (address: 18A Bayville Ave.) and moved to Shelter Island in 2011.

This is Ronzetti and Kopels’ first nomination. They join Guy Reuge of Mirabelle in Stony Brook and the late Gerry Hayden of The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold as semifinalists over the years from Long Island restaurants. Hayden once was a finalist for the honor. None has won.

The list of semifinalists, picked in an online open call for entries, will be narrowed by an independent panel of 600 judges, including restaurant critics, food and wine editors, educators and previous winners. The same judges vote to select the winners.

There are 21 categories in the James Beard Foundation Awards, from regional chefs to best new restaurant and best chef in the nation, outstanding baker, pastry chef, service, restaurateur, bar program and rising star.

18 Bay offers a four-course, fixed-price $75 menu, which includes four antipasti, a pasta, main course and dessert, with the focus on local ingredients. The chefs, who live in Southold, buy their fish and much of their produce on the North Fork before they get on the ferry. They also make use of the seasonal farmstand at Sylvester Manor, less than a mile up the road from the restaurant.

The menu changes weekly. Currently, the selections include Peconic Bay scallop crudo, grilled quail, chestnut soup, caramelized parsnip pasta with lobster sauce, roast cod Livornese, braised beef short rib with chicory salad and a chocolate-and-almond torte with whipped cream.

The JBF awards were established in 1990. They and the foundation are named for James Beard, the cook, author, teacher and TV personality, who died in 1985.

18 Bay is at 23 N. Ferry Rd., Shelter Island, 631-749-0053, 18bayrestaurant.com.