Chefs have a lot of strong feelings about the upcoming James Beard Awards and not usually awe and admiration. They seem to feel that the awards are political, arbitrary, and favor restaurant-world good ole boys at the expense of anti-social but brilliant cooks. But just try to get them to say anything like that in print.
We asked a number of chefs, including one who is currently nominated for a Beard, for their anonymous thoughts on their industry’s most important award. One, whom we might have expected better from, given his irreverent personality, was up front: “No way, dude. Those people are too powerful. No way do I want to piss them off.”
Another top toque, who might have been expected to speak with impunity owing to his runaway success, also seems cowed. “It is actually pretty retarded, the whole idea,” he told us, before adding, “but I better not say anything.” More typical was a statement of personal responsibility: “If I ever get one, I’ll totally let loose on them. But not now. There are a lot of people depending on me.” Isn’t there anyone that will take it to the Establishment, even under cover of anonymity? If so, write us! We’ll make sure they never find out.