The stage was set and the red carpet laid out at this week’s 20th annual James Beard Awards. Each year, the awards recognize some of the kings of the culinary sphere with accolades such as: Rising Star Chef, Outstanding Wine Service and the Lifetime Achievement Award. The ceremony spanned two evenings, with Sunday, May 6 as the media awards and Monday, May 7, the restaurant and chef. The event was held at Avery Fisher hall at Lincoln Center, deviating from the usual venue at the Marriot Marquis.
Gastronomic celebrities such as Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, Todd English and Jacques Pepin put aside their chef whites for the evening to sport black tie attire in the hopes of hanging a coveted Beard medallion around their necks. Hannah Storm, co-anchor of The Early Show on CBS, hosted the evening and passed the baton off to various food stars to announce the recipient of each award. Here are some of the lucky winners:
Rising Star Chef: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY
Best New Restaurant: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, New York, NY
Outstanding Chef: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC
Outstanding Restaurateur: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, CA
Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional: Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, CA
Outstanding Wine Service: Mark Slater of Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC
Following the awards, a grand reception was held through the halls with food stations by chefs from over 30 restaurants around the country. Thousands of attendees rubbed elbows with some of the best of the industry while enjoying such standout items as cotton candy foie gras by Jose Andres, peekytoe crab cappuccino with lemon verbena by Daniel Humm and seared pork belly profiteroles with spiced caramel by Roberto Trevino.
Outside on the balcony there was a special cocktails area with unique concoctions such as a thyme mojito. The wine focus was minimal at the reception, though Castello de Banfi had a table as did Robert Mondavi and Wines of Chile. For some, the main event was an invitation to a late night after party at Hawaiian Tropic, Kobe Club or Momofuku Ssam Bar.
To view the full list of nominees and winners please visit the James Beard site.