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A seat at the 2013 James Beard Awards

The stars of the culinary world came out in force on Monday night, May 6, to attend the annual James Beard Awards ceremony and gala. Avery Fisher Hall at New York City’s Lincoln Center was filled with hundreds of top toques—many in the audience as nominees or presenters; others in their chefs’ coats cooking up tastes for the dine-around that follows the ceremony.

Emotions ran high as the winners took the stage, with raucous cheers accompanying the announcements and heartfelt tears the acceptance speeches. Predictably, many thanked their spouses, children and parents for the sacrifices they made to allow them to pursue their passion. But an equally loud shout-out went to industry peers and the winners’ staffs—the sous chefs, line cooks, servers, managers, expediters and all the behind-the-scenes people that drive a restaurant’s success. These humble acknowledgements were more prevalent than in years past.

A few other notable observations:

2013 is the year of the woman.

  • The awards for Best Chef in their respective regions went to Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat (Great Lakes region); Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja (Southwest) and Melissa Kelly of Primo (Northeast)—that’s three out of 10
  • The Outstanding Restaurateur Award went to Maguy LeCoze, owner of Le Bernardin in New York City—the first time a woman has ever won in this category
  • The 93-year-old Cecilia Chiang received the Lifetime Achievement Award for introducing San Francisco and America to authentic Chinese food through her iconic Mandarin restaurant
  • Merry Edwards, founder of Merry Edwards Winery, received the award for Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional. Edwards called herself the “Susan Lucci of the Beard Awards,” having been nominated six times before her win

Patience pays off. There were several awardees who were nominated five, six or seven times and finally got their just rewards this year.

  • Wylie Dufresne, wd-50; Best Chef New York City
  • Paul Kahan, Blackbird; Outstanding Chef
  • Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace; Best Chef South
  • Colby Garrelts, Bluestem; Best Chef Midwest

2013 is the year of the tie. The votes for one of the most prestigious awards—Outstanding Chef—resulted in a tie. Both Paul Kahan of Blackbird in Chicago and David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City shared the honor. Chang told Kahan he was always one of his heroes, and Kahan said “I can’t beat Chang, but a tie is okay.”

The Big Apple rules. New York City restaurants dominated the “outstanding” categories.

  • Rising Star Chef of the Year went to Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food (OK, San Francisco gets some of the kudos; he also has a location there)
  • Del Posto won for Outstanding Service and Outstanding Pastry Chef (Brooks Headley)
  • Blue Hill was awarded Outstanding Restaurant; chef-owner Dan Barber brought at least 10 of his staff to the stage to share the glory
  • And Maguy LeCoze for Outstanding Restaurateur. Believe it or not, Le Bernardin almost went bankrupt its first year, she told the audience

Here’s a complete list of all the James Beard Award winners announced at the May 6th gala:

2013 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards

75 Seats and Under
Design Firm: Taavo Somer
Designer: Taavo Somer
Project: Isa, Brooklyn, NY

76 Seats and Over
Design Firm: Alejandro Barrios Carrero Designs
Designer: Alejandro Barrios Carrero
Project: Juvia, Miami Beach, FL

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Stephanie Izard
Girl & the Goat

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Johnny Monis
Washington, D.C.

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Colby Garrelts
Kansas City, MO

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)
Wylie Dufresne
wd ̴50

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT)
Melissa Kelly
Rockland, ME

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Gabriel Rucker
Le Pigeon
Portland, OR

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)
Tory McPhail
Commander’s Palace
New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
Joseph Lenn
The Barn at Blackberry Farm
Walland, TN

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)
Jennifer Jasinski

Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
Christopher Kostow
The Restaurant at Meadowood
St. Helena, CA

Best New Restaurant
State Bird Provisions
San Francisco

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional
Merry Edwards
Merry Edwards Winery
Sebastopol, CA

Outstanding Wine Program
Frasca Food and Wine
Boulder, CO

Outstanding Bar Program
The Aviary

Outstanding Service
Del Posto

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Brooks Headley
Del Posto

Outstanding Restaurateur
Maguy Le Coze
Le Bernardin

Rising Star Chef of the Year
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come. Danny Bowien
Mission Chinese Food
San Francisco and NYC

Outstanding Restaurant
Blue Hill

Outstanding Chef
David Chang
Momofuku Noodle Bar

Paul Kahan

2013 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

C.F. Folks
Washington, D.C.
Owner: Art Carlson

Frank Fat’s
Sacramento, CA
Owners: The Fat family

Keens Steakhouse
Owner: George Schwarz

Owner: Orest Kramarczuk

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
Owner: Andre Prince Jeffries

2013 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees

Eric Asimov
Author and Journalist

Dorothy Kalins

Barbara Lynch
Chef and Restaurateur

Zarela Martinez
Chef and Restaurateur

Michael Mina
Chef and Restaurateur
San Francisco

Bill Yosses
Author and Pastry Chef
Washington, D.C.

2013 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award
Cecilia Chiang
Chef and Restaurateur
San Francisco

2013 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year
Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse Foundation
New Orleans

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