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James Beard Foundation has added a new category to its annual awards

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The James Beard Foundation has announced semifinalists for its annual chef and restaurant awards.

ALLECIA VERMILLION: People like to say it's the Academy Awards of the culinary world.

INSKEEP: Allecia Vermillion is vice chair of the awards committee.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

And the awards have a new category - outstanding bakery. Nominees include all my favorites - bakeries, pastry shops, even an ice cream store.

VERMILLION: We definitely worded the description specifically to not exclude frozen treats.

FADEL: Unforgettable Bakery & Cafe in Savannah, Ga., is in the running for the new award.

BELINDA BAPTISTE: My bakery has cakes for all occasions. We have a chocolate cream cheesecake. It's the bestselling cake. And I also have a few of the Haitian treats.

INSKEEP: Belinda Baptiste is the owner, who took up baking as a teenager. What started as a hobby is now her passion.

BAPTISTE: Everything that I make, put 101% in it. And if it's not the thing that I would serve my family, I would never put it out.

FADEL: Belinda says she's using proceeds from her bakery to help a student go to a historically Black college.

BAPTISTE: The bakery not only serve the best cake that you would have around here. It also serve a purpose, helping the community.

INSKEEP: Giving back, one slice at a time.

FADEL: I'm hungry now. I want cake.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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