The James Beard Foundation recently announced the Semifinalists for the annual James Beard Awards, the Oscars of the food world. And not one, but three Charleston chefs got the nod.

Pictured from left: Chef Aaron Deal of Tristan (nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year), Chef Sean Brock of McCrady's (Rising Star Chef of the Year and Best Chef: Southeast), and Chef Mike Lata of FIG (Best Chef: Southeast)

Now, Momma taught me it's rude to say, "I told you so." No one likes a know-it-all. But in the February issue of Southern Living,

you'll see that we highlighted all three chefs in "Bite-Size Charleston", an appetizer crawl through some of the city's best restaurants. I'm not saying, "I told you so." I'm just saying. Seriously.

Stay tuned. On March 23, the Finalists will be announced. And on May 4, the winners will claim their medals.

In the meantime, next time you're in Chucktown (as the city is affectionately called), be sure to stop by Tristan, McCrady's, and FIG to see what all the fuss is about. You'll see why this compact area in the Lowcountry is gaining recognition as one of the food capitals of the country.

Photos: Aaron Deal, courtesy of Tristan. Sean Brock and Mike Lata by Jennifer Davick.