James Beard Foundation Winners
The James Beard Foundation Awards came out this week. This is really like the Oscars for cooking – it’s one of the most prestigious awards you can get. The complete list of winners is here, but I thought I would highlight some of my personal favorites (based on experience) from that list.
Outstanding Pastry Chef Award: Nicole Plue from Redd, Yountville, CA
We visited Redd when we went to Napa Valley for the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition back in March. We absolutely loved the food there, but were hesitant about eating too much because we had reservations at The French Laundry that night. So unfortunately, we passed on dessert and instead just bought a bag of their addictive Saltine Toffee to go. If only we had known that their pastry chef was so amazing! Oh well, next time . . . although I must admit, that toffee was pretty good!
Outstanding Restaurant Award: Daniel, NYC
I probably sound like a broken record, but I still think this was my more enjoyable fine dining experience this past year. Maybe it felt more special because it was for my birthday.
Rising Star Chef of the Year Award: Tim Hollingsworth, The French Laundry, Yountville
I wonder if he was in the kitchen when we went. I looked through the photos I took in the kitchen but he wasn’t there. Maybe he was off duty that night.
Best Chef: Northeast: Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, Arrows in Ogunquit, ME
I was really rooting for Tony Maws from Craigie on Main (formerly Craigie Street Bistrot). I guess I haven’t actually tried Arrows in Ogunquit, but I’ve had Tony Maws’ cooking and it’s absolutely fantastic. I really think he’s one of the best cooks in the Boston area. Now I’m really curious about this place in Ogunquit . . .
Best Chef, Southwest: Claude Le Tohic from Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand.
This is definitely the most over-the-top restaurant we have ever visited. I mean, just look at the presentation of this dessert, not to mention the velvet seats, opulent dining room, and incredible bread & dessert carts at the restaurant!
And congrats to Serious Eats for winning Best Food Blog!
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