Best restaurateur, restaurant, chef: Who won the Beard Awards?

james beard crowd

Ken Friedman, a partner in such New York City hotspots as The Spotted Pig, The Breslin and Tosca Café, was named at last night’s James Beard Awards as the nation’s top restaurateur.

Alinea in Chicago was selected as best restaurant, and New York’s Eleven Madison Park won the top honor in the outstanding service category.  

Suzanne Goin of Lucques in Los Angeles was chosen as the industry’s outstanding chef.

The honor for best up-and-coming chef went to Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme in New York. New Orleans’ Shaya, the Israeli restaurant opened last year by chef Alon Shaya, was chosen as best new restaurant. “Hummus has come to New Orleans,” quipped Shaya.

The Beard Awards are fine dining’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, drawing the industry’s top stars and a host of food-loving celebrities. The red carpet event was held for the second time in Chicago, after years of being hosted in New York, the home city of the award program’s presenter, the James Beard Foundation.

Selection as a Beard Award winner can bring instant bragging rights—and a nice pop in business.

Among the most applauded wins was Jonathan Waxman’s selection as best chef in New York City, where the longtime veteran of the business has drawn national praise for his Barbuto restaurant. Waxman has been a celebrated force in kitchens since the 1980s, when American cuisine first emerged as a critical equal to what Europe had to offer.

Other chefs named as best in their respective regions were:

  • Renee Erickson of The Whale Wins in Seattle, Northwest
  • Curtis Duffy of Grace in Chicago, Great Lakes 
  • Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C., Mid-Atlantic
  • Tandy Wilson of City House in Nashville, Southeast
  • Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery in New Orleans, South
  • Zak Pelaccio of Fish & Game in Hudson, N.Y., Northeast
  • Justin Yu of Oxheart in Houston, Southwest
  • Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal in Los Angeles, West
  • Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, Midwest


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