The female chefs nominated for the James Beard Awards are on fire

( CNN) The James Beard Awards are the Oscars of the food world, coveted by American chefs and food professionals every year.

The 2017 ceremony was keep May 1 in Chicago, and it looks like hours are changing.

This year, 27% of the semifinalists were female, compared with 19% in 2009. That includes chefs, tart chefs, restaurateurs, wine and liquor professionals and producers.

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