Kerstin Kühn: James Beard Foundation Awards

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th May 2014

This is the latest in a series of monthly blogs by LA-based food writer and former restaurant editor of Caterer and Hotelkeeper, Kerstin Kühn, otherwise known as La Goulue.

California restaurants triumph at the James Beard Foundation Awards

Earlier this month, the great and the good of the US food industry gathered in New York for the annual James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards, the biggest highlight of the culinary year in North America. Founded in 1990, the awards recognise hospitality professionals for James Beard Awardexcellence and aim to celebrate, preserve and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity. This year California won big, picking up both Outstanding Chef and Restaurant, the James Beard Awards' most prestigious honours. For the first time in a very long time, a Los Angeles chef took home the main award, with Nancy Silverton, founder of Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, winning Outstanding Chef. The last time an LA-based chef won this category was in 1998 when Spago's Wolfgang Puck shared it with Jean Georges Vongerichten. Silverton is only the fourth woman to win the Outstanding Chef award after Alice Waters (1992), Lidia Bastianich (2002) and Judy Rodgers (2004). She beat other nominees including fellow LA female chef Suzanne Goin of Lucques; as well as California-based David Kinch of the two-Michelin-starred Manresa in Los Gatos; and Michael Anthony from Danny Meyer’s iconic Gramercy Tavern in New York. Silverton trained in Europe, at London’s Le Cordon Bleu and the Ecole Le Notre in Plaiser in France, and inspired by a lack of high quality sourdough breads in the USA, founded the now iconic La Brea Bakery 1989, which quickly turned her into the country’s leading expert of artisanal bread baking. That same year, together with her ex-husband, Mark Peel, she also opened restaurant Campanile, and in 1990 she won the James Beard Foundation’s Pastry Chef of the Year award. After selling her shares in both businesses and experimenting with Italian ingredients, Silverton teamed up with Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich to open Pizzeria Mozza in 2006. The trio has gone on to launch Osteria Mozza, a more formal restaurant, as well as Pizzeria Mozza outlets in Singapore, Newport Beach and San Diego. She has also written numerous award-winning books. In another West Coast victory the Slanted Door, the acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco, won Outstanding Restaurant. This is an annual award the James Beard Foundation gives to a restaurant that has set national standards in food, service and atmosphere for at least a decade. Chef-owner Charles Phan, who first opened the Slanted Door in the Mission District in 1995 and Charles Phanmoved it to the Ferry Building in 2003, pioneered the use of organic Californian ingredients in Vietnamese dishes while giving a new high-end twist to a cuisine not previously associated with fine dining. Nearly two decades on, the Slanted Door remains one of San Francisco’s top restaurants. Meanwhile fellow San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson from the two-Michelin-starred Coi beat LA’s Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal and Son of a Gun to claim the Best Chef West category. Known for his fiercely local and seasonal menus of innovative dishes, which often lean towards vegetables and showcase precise and clean flavours, Patterson finally took home this regional award after his sixth consecutive nomination. Daniel PattersonOther Californian winners included the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley, which won the award for Outstanding Service, and the Shed in Healdsburg, which was honoured for its interior design. And former Spago pastry chef and cookbook author Sherry Yard marked another success story for California by being inaugurated into the James Beard Foundation's prestigious cadre of Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. 2014 was also a good year for female chefs, with Boston’s Barbara Lynch winning Outstanding Restaurateur; and British-born chef April Bloomfield being named Best Chef in New York City for her cooking at the Michelin-starred Spotted Pig. This is also good news for California though as Bloomfield co-owns Café Tosca in San Francisco and is rumoured to be planning a restaurant in Venice Beach.    

The complete list of winners of the 2014 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards:

Outstanding Chef: Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles Outstanding Restaurant: The Slanted Door, San Francisco Outstanding Pastry Chef: Dominique Ansel, Dominique Ansel Bakery, New York Outstanding Restaurateur: Barbara Lynch, Barbara Lynch Gruppo (No. 9 Park, Menton, B&G Oysters and others), Boston Rising Star Chefs (tie): Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig, Chicago, and Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, Wash. Best New Restaurant: Pêche Seafood Grill, New Orleans Best Chef, Great Lakes: Dave Beran, Next, Chicago Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic: Vikram Sunderam, Rasika, Washington, D.C. Best Chef, Midwest: Justin Aprahamian, Sanford, Milwaukee Best Chef, New York City: April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig Best Chef, Northeast: Jamie Bissonnette, Coppa, Boston Best Chef, Northwest: Naomi Pomeroy, Beast, Portland, Ore. Best Chef, South (tie): Ryan Prewitt, Pêche Seafood Grill, New Orleans and Sue Zemanick, Gautreau's, New Orleans Best Chef, Southeast: Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh, N.C. Best Chef, Southwest: Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, Houston Best Chef, West: Daniel Patterson, Coi, San Francisco Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional: Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y. Outstanding Wine Program: The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn. Outstanding Bar Program: The Bar at the NoMad Hotel, New York Outstanding Service: The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, Calif. Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America: Edward Behr (Food Writer, Vermont) John Besh (Chef and Restaurateur, New Orleans) David Chang (Momofuku Restaurant Group, New York) Barry Estabrook (Writer, Vermont) Paul Kahan (Executive Chef and Partner, Chicago) Sherry Yard (Pastry Chef, Cookbook Author, Los Angeles) Lifetime Achievement Award: Sirio Maccioni (Restaurateur, New York) Humanitarian of the Year: Matt Haley (Chef, Restaurateur and Philanthropist, Delaware) Outstanding Restaurant Design 75 Seats and Under: Project: Grace, Chicago; Design Firm: Lawton Stanley; Architects Designers: Maria Contreras, Christopher Lawton, and Micah Stanley Outstanding Restaurant Design 76 Seats and Over: Project: Shed, Healdsburg, CA; Design Firm: Jensen Architects Designers: Scott Davis, Mark Jensen, Lincoln Lighthill, Dean Orr, and Andy Pluess     Kerstin_Kuhn   Kerstin Kühn is a freelance food and travel writer, specialising in restaurant and chef stories. The former restaurant editor of Caterer and Hotelkeeper, she relocated from London to Los Angeles last summer, where she lives with her husband and two cats. With a vast network of chefs from around the world, Kerstin has profiled the likes of Michel Roux, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, the Roca brothers and Massimo Bottura. She has been a contributor to publications including FOUR Magazine, the Evening Standard Food and Travel MagazineM&C ReportDesign WeekFrame Magazine and City and Canary Wharf Magazines and also writes her own blog, La Goulue. You can follow Kerstin on Twitter @LaGoulue_
The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th May 2014

Kerstin Kühn: James Beard Foundation Awards