Ricker and Rucker Bring It Home at the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards

Hosted at the beautiful Lincoln Center in New York City, top chefs gathered last night for the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards gala. Lasting a lengthy three hours, a black tie clad crowd of 2,000 was in attendance for the awards, with favorite chefs and past Beard award winners, like Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse and Ming Tsai announced the 2011 winners.

Here in Portland, fans were thrilled that two of our favorite chefs brought home awards. Gabriel Rucker, of French restaurant Le Pigeon, finally won the Rising Star of the Year award after being nominated four times.

Andy Ricker of Pok Pok also brings a JBA medal back to Portland, winning Best Chef: Northwest. In his acceptance speech, Ricker thanked Stumptown, saying, “The city of Portland has allowed us to do what we do. I just don’t think that Pok Pok could have happened anywhere else the way it did.”

Spanish chef José Andrés of minibar, Jaleo, and the Bazaar won this year’s Outstanding Chef award. The always entertaining Andres leapt on stage and kissed presenter Tom Colicchio on the cheek, but choked up a bit while thanking his wife and regular restaurant customers.

Women also made their mark at the awards by taking home the title in five categories, including Best Chef: New York City. Ladies who won JBFA medallions: Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune for Best Chef NYC, Belinda Chang of Danny Meyer’s The Modern for Outstanding Wine Service, Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C. for Best Chef: Southeast, Saipin Chutima of Lotus Siam in Las Vegas for Best Chef: Southwest, and Angela Pinkerton of Eleven Madison Park in NYC for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

The full list of winners:

Best New Restaurant: ABC Kitchen, New York City, NY
Outstanding Chef: José Andrés
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Angela Pinkerton, Eleven Madison Park, New York City, NY
Outstanding Restaurateur: Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Chicago, IL
Outstanding Restaurant: Eleven Madison Park, New York City, NY
Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional: Julian P. VanWinkle, III, Louisville, KY
Outstanding Wine Service: The Modern, New York City, NY
Outstanding Service: Per Se, New York City, NY
Rising Star Chef: Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon, Portland, OR

Best Chef – Great Lakes: Alex Young, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI
Best Chef – Mid-Atlantic: Michael Solomonov, Zahav, Philadelphia, PA
Best Chef – Midwest: Isaac Becker, 112 Eatery, Minneapolis, MN
Best Chef – New York City: Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune
Best Chef – Northeast: Tony Maws, Craigie On Main, Cambridge, MA
Best Chef – Northwest: Andy Ricker, Pok Pok, Portland, OR
Best Chef – Pacific: Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco, CA
Best Chef – South: Stephen Stryjewski, Cochon, New Orleans, LA
Best Chef – Southeast: Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, NC
Best Chef – Southwest: (TIE) Saipin Chutima, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas, NV; Tyson Cole, Uchi, Austin, TX

We’ve been following the 2011 James Beard choices throughout the spring. Read about Best New Restaurant nominee Stephanie Izard or the “short list” announcements that took place here in Portland. Missed last year’s coverage of the star-studded red carpet event? You can see Jennifer’s post here. Congratulations to all the 2011 JBFA winners!

~Kirsten Saladow

*Photo credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender

0 replies on “Ricker and Rucker Bring It Home at the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards”