An amazing evening was had this past Monday night in New York City as the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards were announced in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Amid beautiful early summer weather, big industry names from Jacques Pépin to Grant Achatz and everyone in between came together to celebrate culinary greats from around the country. Chefs, mixologists, and food personalities made it down the red carpet early in the evening, stopping for laughs and poses as photographers, journalists, and food fans snapped photos of their favorites. Hosts Lidia Bastianich and the Food Network’s Alton Brown paused for pics with Ted Allen and president of the James Beard Foundation, Susan Ungaro. The French Laundry’s Thomas Keller showed his support for Rising Star Chef nominee, and French Laundry Chef de Cuisine, Timothy Hollingsworth (who took home the award). Nominee and Top Chef alum Bryan Voltaggio made it down the carpet, as well as nominee and 2009 Food & Wine Best New Chef Bryan Caswell. In addition, nominees Rick Moonen, Daniel Humm, Koren Grieveson, Amanda Cook, Bernard Sun, and former award winners David Chang, Alfred Portale, Judy Rodgers, Dan Barber, Rick Bayless, and Wylie Dufresne all stopped for photo ops.
In the press room at the back of the theatre, I mingled with a grand who’s who of food writers from across the country, including 2010 JBF Media Award winner Joe Yonan of the Washington Post, Bret Thorn of Nation’s Restaurant News, and writer Michael Ruhlman. Drinks were poured, caviar was consumed. Chefs and restaurateurs, including the ever-playful Daniel Boulud, filed through the room on their way to present awards, always inevitably returning moments later with award winners in tow. With chefs and reporters chatting away at every step, a few of us remained stationed below television screens as the winners were announced. (In fact, you can find my minute-by-minute updates, as well as behind-the-scenes photos at the Daily Blender Twitter and TwitPic accounts.)
And the full list of winners:
- Best New Restaurant: Marea, New York City, NY
- Outstanding Chef: Tom Colicchio, Craft, New York City, NY
- Outstanding Pastry Chef: Nicole Plue, Redd, Yountville, CA
- Outstanding Restaurant: Daniel, New York City, NY
- Outstanding Restaurateur: Keith McNally, New York City, NY
- Outstanding Service: Alinea, Chicago, IL
- Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional: John Shafer and Doug Shafer, Napa, CA
- Outstanding Wine Service: Bernard Sun, Jean Georges, New York City, NY
- Rising Star Chef of the Year: Timothy Hollingsworth, The French Laundry, Yountville, CA
- Best Chef – Great Lakes: Koren Grieveson, Avec, Chicago, IL
- Best Chef – Mid-Atlantic: Jeff Michaud, Osteria, Philadelphia, PA
- Best Chef – Midwest: Alexander Roberts, Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis, MN
- Best Chef – New York City: Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, New York City, NY
- Best Chef – Northeast: Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, Arrows, Ogunquit, ME
- Best Chef – Northwest: Jason Wilson, Crush, Seattle, WA
- Best Chef – Pacific: David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
- Best Chef – South: Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, Miami, FL
- Best Chef – Southeast: Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, SC
- Best Chef – Southwest: Claude Le Tohic, Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV
It was absolutely fantastic to see so many of my wonderful food friends throughout the evening, including a few who went home with a little piece of James Beard for themselves. Be sure to check out my recent interview with Best Chef – South winner Chef Michael Schwartz, as well as my upcoming feature for Northwest Palate magazine on Best Chef – Northwest winner Jason Wilson.
And the James Beard pièce de résistance? Having a chance to talk business with Outstanding Chef winner Tom Colicchio at the impressive Colicchio & Sons while I was in town. Look for my exclusive Q&A with Tom right here on Daily Blender in June, as well as upcoming coverage of this weekend’s Vegas Uncork’d, next week’s New World Wine & Food Festival, and next month’s Aspen Food & Wine Classic.
*Photo credits: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender. Photo distribution is available with permission and proper identification/linking. If you take any of them without permission, however, I will hunt you down and make you eat poorly seasoned, overcooked food.