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Harbinger, at the corner of Ingersoll Avenue and 28th Street, has been procured from Iowa. From the food to the wood for the bar to the dishes, it's focused on local producers. Wochit

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A chef in Des Moines has been named a James Beard semifinalist for the title of "Best Chef Midwest" for 2019.

Joe Tripp, chef and co-owner of Harbinger at 2724 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines, is on the list of contenders for the annual awards which culminate at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 6 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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"We're really excited about it," Tripp said. "We have a lot of people who worked really hard. It reflects just as much on them as it does anything else."

The James Beard Foundation awards, now in their 29th year, are considered some of the highest honors in the culinary world.

Tripp is the only Iowa chef among the 20 semifinalists for Best Chef: Midwest. Semifinalists were selected from online nominations.

"I really would have liked to see Lynn Pritchard from Table 128 on there," Tripp said. "I think Des Moines has an amazing food scene. I think Zach Gutweiler is really pushing the boundaries out there at Reed's Hollow. I think he's doing some really creative and fun things. I love eating out there."

More: Asian-inspired noodle bar, brunch menu coming soon to Ingersoll restaurant.

Interested in Iowa food news? Follow @briantaylorcarlson on Facebook, @BriinDSM on Twitter and @briindsm on Instagram.

Tripp and Des Moines restaurateur Jason Simon opened Harbinger in early 2017 in the former Bistro Montage location. Since then, Tripp has served Asian-inspired, locally sourced dishes influenced by his yearly global exploration endeavors when he absorbs local food culture wherever he goes. 

Tripp began his tenure in Des Moines at Alba Restaurant after working briefly at Fruition Restaurant in Denver. 

For three years in a row, Tripp was nominated for the award for his work at Alba. This year, he is being nominated for his work at Harbinger. 

"It's a good feeling to be nominated for something I helped create," Tripp said. "I was always proud to be a part of Alba and a part of what Jason Simon had built and his vision, but it's obviously a bit more personal when you have all the little touched involved that you helped build yourself."

The James Beard Foundation plans to announce the five finalists for each category March 27.

Simon earned a Best Chef Midwest nomination in 2011. Eatery A, Simon’s restaurant on Ingersoll Avenue, received a Rising Star Chef nomination for chef Nic Gonwa in 2015. For three years in a row, Sean Wilson of Proof also made the semifinals for Best Chef: Midwest. David Baruthio of Baru 66 has also been nominated.

"Even beyond Des Moines, I think Iowa's getting ignored," Tripp said. "There are some great restaurants out there. I've had really great meals at Brazen Kitchen in Dubuque and I'm really excited to see what's happening in Cedar Rapids." Tripp said he hopes to see more of an Iowa presence in future James Beard awards.

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Harbinger

Location: 2724 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines

Hours: 4 to 10 pm., Tuesday through Sunday

Contact: (515) 244-1314; harbingerdsm.com; Facebook

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