Tom Colicchio, Traci Des Jardins, and Ming Tsai Will Host Beard Awards

It’s a big (some might say epic) day for Traci Des Jardins — #winning! Bravo just announced she’ll be competing in Top Chef Masters, and now the James Beard Foundation sends word that she’ll be a co-host, along with Tom Colicchio and Ming Tsai, of their 2011 awards ceremony on May 9. See below for the full announcement, including all the information about this year’s “Ultimate Melting Pot” theme and the chefs whose dishes will honor it at the gala. Now that Colicchio is co-hosting the big night, he might want to delete that tweet about the Colicchio & Sons snub?



New York, NY (March 2, 2011) - The James Beard Foundation announced today that James Beard Award-winners Tom Colicchio, Ming Tsai and Traci Des Jardins will host the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries. The highly anticipated Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will take place on Monday, May 9, 2011 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. A few days prior, on Friday, May 6, 2011, Emmy Award-winner, host of the Food Network series Chopped and author Ted Allen and Food & Wine magazine’s Special Projects Director and Bravo’s Top Chef judge and Top Chef: Just Desserts host Gail Simmons will co-host the annual James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner at New York City’s Espace.

The theme of this year’s Awards is “The Ultimate Melting Pot,” a tribute to the nation’s wonderfully diverse food culture, a mosaic of influences from many lands. In James Beard’s comprehensive cookbook American Cookery, he acknowledged the unique character of American food that resulted from the varied backgrounds of American citizens. “The inspiration for incalculable numbers of our dishes came with immigrants from Europe and the Orient,” he wrote in the book’s introduction in 1972. Adding South America, Africa, the Middle East and other cultures to the stew creates the exciting taste of the American culinary melting pot which the James Beard Foundation is celebrating at this year’s awards. In a nod to this year’s theme, the Foundation has invited both chefs who have emigrated from various places to America as well as chefs born in America that have been inspired by international cuisines to present dishes that reflect the country’s multi-cultural influences during both at the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner as well as the Gala Reception taking place after the Awards Ceremony at Lincoln Center.

Each of this year’s hosts are celebrated James Beard Award-winners. While Tom Colicchio was chef at Gramercy Tavern in New York City, he was named Best Chef: New York City in 2000 and, in 2001 he shared the Outstanding Service award with restaurateur Danny Meyer. In addition, Tom’s Craft restaurant in New York City was named Best New Restaurant in 2002 and just last year, Tom won the coveted Outstanding Chef award. Traci Des Jardins, of Jardinière, Mijita and Public House in San Francisco as well as Manzanita in Lake Tahoe, was named the 1995 Rising Star Chef of the Year and Best Chef: Pacific in 2007, while Emmy Award-winner Ming Tsai was named Best Chef: Northeast in 2002 for his celebrated Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley, MA. Emmy Award-winner Ted Allen is no stranger to the James Beard Awards, having hosted the media awards dinner in 2009, and Gail Simmons and her team of Bravo’s Emmy Award-winning series Top Chef won a 2008 Broadcast Media award in the Television Food Special category.

“This year, we are thrilled to have both an incredible group of hosts and a stellar line-up of talented chefs who are excited to showcase the rich cultural landscape of our country,” says Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation. “Together, all these participants represent exactly what the Foundation is all about: celebrating excellence, preserving traditions of past and present, and nurturing America’s culinary heritage and diversity.”

This year’s Gala Co-Chair Chefs are leading an exemplary group of Gala Chefs from some of the finest kitchens across the country as they descend on Avery Fisher Hall to share their cuisine with nearly 2,000 guests. The 2011 Gala Co-Chairs include:

JBF Award Winner José Andrés
minibar by josé andrés and ThinkFoodGroup
Washington, D.C.

Floyd Cardoz
Union Square Hospitality Group

JBF Award Winner Susan Feniger
Border Grill and STREET
Los Angeles

Chefs confirmed to cook at the Gala Reception following the Awards Ceremony on Monday, May 9, 2011 include:

JBF Award Winner José Andrés
minibar by josé andrés and ThinkFoodGroup
Washington, D.C.

Timon Balloo
SUGARCANE raw bar grill

Octavio Becerra
palate food + wine
Glendale, CA

Maneet Chauhan
At Vermilion

Saipin Chutima
Lotus of Siam
Las Vegas

Tyson Cole
Austin, TX

JBF Award Winner Jose Garces
Garces Restaurant Group

Pastry Chef Carla Gonçalves

Mohan Ismail
RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen
Los Angeles

Pano I. Karatassos

David Lawrence
1300 on Fillmore
San Francisco

Pastry Chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom
duo Restaurant

Chef Marisoll
Chef Marisoll Catering
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Alexander Ong
Betelnut Pejiu Wu
San Francisco

JBF Award Winner Ken Oringer

JBF Award Winner Luciano Pellegrini
Valentino at the Venetian
Las Vegas

Pastry Chef Yigit Pura
Tout Sweet
San Francisco

Andy Ricker
Pok Pok
Portland, OR

Martín J. Rios
Restaurant Martín
Santa Fe

Michael Solomonov

Kristine Subido
Wave at W Chicago Lakeshore

Vikram Sunderam
Washington, D.C.

Toshio Suzuki
Sushi Zen

Sameh Wadi
Saffron Restaurant & Lounge

Rachel Yang

Chefs confirmed to cook at the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner on Friday, May 6, 2011 include:

Mourad Lahlou
San Francisco

Pastry Chef Pichet Ong
Spot Dessert Bar

Michael Psilakis

JBF Award Winner Ana Sortun
Cambridge, MA

Host Chef Jason Munger

On Monday, March 21, 2011, the James Beard Foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories during an invitation-only luncheon at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, OR. The nominations will also be announced live via the James Beard Foundation’s Twitter page at The annual James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbooks, culinary broadcast programs and food journalists, will take place on Friday, May 6, 2011 at Espace in New York City. The following Monday evening, the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will take place at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, during which the Restaurant and Chef and the Restaurant Design and Graphics awards will be handed out, along with a number of special achievement awards, including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and Who’s Who honorees, as well as the five America’s Classics award honorees.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and continue to emphasize the Foundation’s mission: to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity. The annual James Beard Foundation Awards honor the best and the brightest talents in the food and beverage industries, celebrating outstanding achievement in each of the following categories: Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design and Graphics, Books, Broadcast, and Journalism, as well as several special achievement awards. Each category has an individual Awards Committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All award winners receive a certificate and a bronze medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.

The 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards are presented with support by the following partners: In Association Sponsor: All-Clad Metalcrafters; Premier Sponsors: Green & Black’s® Organic Chocolate, Lenox Tableware and Gifts, Mercedes-Benz; Supporting Sponsors: The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Southern Wine & Spirits of New York, Stella Artois; Gala Reception Sponsors: Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water, Certified Angus Beef® Brand, Ecolab, Pernod Ricard USA, Rums of Puerto Rico, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water; and with additional support from Chefwear and St. Giles Hotel.

Tom Colicchio, Traci Des Jardins, and Ming Tsai Will Host Beard Awards