Last night’s James Beard Foundation Awards contained a wonderful win for a Philly chef, and a handful of disappointing losses. First off, the great news: Jose Garces of Amada, Tinto, Distrito, and Chifa (nominated for the category for the third time) won Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic! We were in the press room when they announced the category, eyes glued to the TV screen and fingers crossed, but truth be told, we weren’t nervous for Garces — how could he not win? (Disappointingly, he was not actually at the Awards, and someone else accepted his JBA on Garces’ behalf, so we didn’t get to fawn over talk to him.)
Unfortunately, the other Philly nominees didn’t fare so well. To start, Nate Appleman, of A16 in San Francisco, won Rising Star Chef of the Year instead of Michael Solomonov of Zahav. In the two other categories with Philly nominees, Daniel beat out Vetri for Outstanding Service, and Drew Nieporent won Outstanding Restaurateur instead of Stephen Starr. (Does this mean that Jeff Benjamin and Starr went to Buddakan or Morimoto to "shake off the loss"?)
Wins and losses aside, Lincoln Center was an exciting place to be last night. The theme for the event was "Women in Food," and the gala menu was exclusively from female chefs. Avery Fisher Hall was awash in soft pink glow, which was mildly-insulting given the theme, but forgivable given the extreme deliciousness of everything served. On a local note, Delilah Winder, of Delilah’s Southern Cuisine, was there presenting a shrimp and andouille with creole sauce on hoppin’ john cakes, beaming the whole time we saw her.
Restaurant and Chefs Awards Winners:
Best New Restaurant: Momofuku Ko, owner David Chang
Outstanding Service: Daniel, owner Daniel Boloud
Outstanding Restaurateur: Drew Nieporent, Myriad Restaurant Group
Outstanding Restaurant: Jean Georges, owner Jean Georges Vongerichten
Outstanding Chef: Dan Barber, Blue Hill
Outstanding Wine Service: Le Bernardin
Wine & Spirits Pro: Dale DeGroff
The Best Chef (Northwest): Maria Hines, Tilth
The Best Chef (Pacific): Douglas Keane, Cyrus
The Best Chef (Southwest): Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare
The Best Chef (South): John Currence, City Grocery
The Best Chef (Southeast): Mike Lata, Fig
The Best Chef (Mid-Atlantic): Jose Garces, Armada
The Best Chef (New York City): Gabriel Kreuther, The Modern
The Best Chef (Northeast): Rob Evans, Hugo’s
Best Chef (Midwest): Tim McKee, La Belle Vie
Best Chef (Great Lakes): Michael Symon, Lola
Rising Star: Nate Appleman, A16 and SPQR
Restaurant Graphics: Denise Korn/Javier Cortés/Bryant Ross (Corner Office)
Restaurant Design: Thomas Schlesser (Publican)
Cookbook Awards Winners:
For cookbooks published in English in 2008.
"Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook"
by Martha Hall Foose
"Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking"
by Shirley O. Corriher
"WineWise: Your Complete Guide to Understanding, Selecting and Enjoying Wine"
by Steven Kolpan, Brian H. Smith and Michael A. Weiss, The Culinary Institute of America
(John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
Cooking From a Professional Point of View
by Grant Achatz
(Achatz LLC/Ten Speed Press)
"How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition)"
by Mark Bittman
(John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
"The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life"
by Ellie Krieger
(The Taunton Press, Inc.)
"Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China"
by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
"The Big Fat Duck Cookbook"
Photographer: Dominic Davies
Artist: Dave McKean
Reference and Scholarship
"The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs"
by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
(Little, Brown and Company)
"Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes"
by Jennifer McLagan
(Ten Speed Press)
Writing and Literature
"In Defense of Food"
by Michael Pollan
(The Penguin Press)
Humanitarian of the Year: Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest).
Lifetime Achievement: Ella Brennan of the Brennan Family of Restaurants, including Commander’s Palace.
2009 America’s Classics: Arnold’s Country Kitchen, Breitbach’s Country Dining, Mustache Bill’s Diner, Totonno’s and Yank Sing
[Photo: Helen Rosner]