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NYC dominates first Chicago-based Beard Awards

Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns was named the Outstanding Restaurant of 2015 and Donnie Madia of Paul Kahan’s One Off Hospitality Group was honored as Outstanding Restaurateur of the year at Monday night’s James Beard Awards, the restaurant industry’s equivalent of the Academy Awards.

New York City’s Batard was chosen by Beard judges as the Best New Restaurant. Michael Anthony of New York’s Union Square Hospitality Group, who runs Gramercy Tavern and a new Union Square concept called Untitled, was honored as Outstanding Chef. 

The four categories are among the most closely watched competitoins at the Beard Awards—the equivalent of Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director at the Oscars. In total, awards were presented to several dozen restaurateurs, chefs, bakers, bars and mixologists.

Christina Tosi of New York’s Momofuku was named Outstanding Pastry Chef. “I want to thank the women who raised me in the home kitchen,” Tosi said while accepting her award, “and the men that raised me in the professional kitchen.”

Jessica Largey of Manresa in Los Gatos, California, was selected as Rising Star Chef. She apologized for taking a long time getting to the stage, saying she's not used to being in a dress. “That’s why I became a chef,” she said.

The top honor for Outstanding Service, a distinction that in the past has gone to some of New York’s elite white-tablecloth places, went this year to The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.

One of the most-watched dynamics of the Beards is how the culinary communities of various cities fare. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco are the perennial power markets.

The interest in the unofficial geographic competition may have been especially intense this year because 2015 marks the relocation of the awards program to Chicago from New York.

The host city walked away with plenty of hardware. Madia, the 2015 Outstanding Restaurateur, oversees such critically acclaimed Chicago landmarks as Blackbird, Avec and Nico Osteria.ut N

But New York, which lost the ceremony to Chicago, tended to dominate, winning top honors for Best New Restaurant and Outstanding Pastry Chef. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is in a New York suburb, and is a sister concept of New York City’s Blue Hill.

Look Wednesday on RestaurantBusinessOnline.com for a complete listing of Beard Award winners and other coverage.

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