NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Dianna Daoheung has been cooking since she was a little girl. Dough runs through her veins. The 35-year-old chef at Black Seed Bagels in the East Village just found out some big news. For the first time, she is a James Beard Award nominee in the Outstanding Baker category.
"In the culinary world, that's the crème de la crème," she said. "I am beyond shocked. One we are a bagel shop. We're a street food. When you think of James Beard, you really think of Michelin star."
Two-thirds of the New York City chefs named as finalists this year are women. Mitchell Davis, the executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation, told Fox 5 the organization has been inspired by the #MeToo movement.
"In the current environment with revelations about harassment and difficulties that women have faced in the industry have come to light, judges cannot help but have taken that into account when they are voting on the list," Davis said. "That said, the representation this year—the chefs are still among the greatest in the country."
Dianna she is up against five other finalists in her category. One of them is also a New Yorker: Chef Zachary Golper from Bien Cuit, a bakery in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
The winners from each category will be announced at a gala in Chicago in May. For Dianna - win or lose, she tells us just getting this far was more than she could have ever hoped for.