DENVER (CBS4) – The Oscars of the American food scene have been handed out, and a Denver chef is bringing home some hardware.

gettyimages 8950550101 Colorado Chef Wins James Beard Award

TOP CHEF — “Smile and Say Mise” Episode 1502 — Pictured: (l-r) Bruce Kalman, Alex Seidel, Tom Colicchio — (Photo by: Paul Trantow/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Alex Seidel, chef at Mercantile, won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in an awards ceremony in Chicago Monday night.

“I got into this restaurant business at age 14, almost 30 years ago, and I remember walking into the kitchen … and it was like an instant family, and I’ve loved it ever since,” Seidel told the crowd. “So to be here tonight with this family, I’m truly honored.”

Mercantile is located in Union Station and is a full service restaurant that also has pastries, charcuterie and a full service bar.

Seidel is also head chef at the Denver restaurant Fruition.

The James Beard Foundation’s annual awards are generally viewed as the most sought after awards for a chef in America. The foundation describes its mission as “to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire.”

The Boulder restaurant Frasca was in the running for the Outstanding Restaurant award but was beaten out by the restaurant Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama. Aspen’s The Little Nell was also nominated for “Outstanding Wine Program” but was beaten out by FIG in Charleston, South Carolina.

See the full list of winners at jamesbeard.org.

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