Gerard Craft, Kevin Nashan are 2014 James Beard Awards nominees

For the first time, two St. Louis chefs are nominees for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Midwest” award. Gerard Craft of Niche and Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe are two of the award’s six nominees, which were announced this morning at an event in Chicago.

This is the fifth nomination for Craft, who was also a nominee in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. This is Nashan’s first nomination.

“I almost fainted,” Nashan said on the phone from Mexico, where he is vacationing with his family. “Dreams do come true.”

“It’s superexciting to be on there with my buddy Kevin,” Craft said.

Craft and Nashan will compete against Justin Aprahamian of Sanford in Milwaukee, Paul Berglund of the Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, Michelle Gayer of the Salty Tart in Minneapolis and Lenny Russo of Heartland Restaurant Farm Direct Market in St. Paul, Minn.