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Snack: Last observations

My James Beard Awards weekend came to a end at about 3:30a.m. last night. When I left the impromptu celebration at Gramercy Tavern it was still going strong. Overall, I’d say it was one of the better awards weekends in recent memory.

The Edison Ballroom had more than enough room for everyone at Chefs’ Night Out hosted by Bon Appétit on Friday. The bonus was the dance floor and a pretty decent DJ. Chefs getting their groove on is always entertaining. I’m not sure who thought of it, but the Good Humor ice cream truck parked in front was brilliant. The bow-tie clad driver was handing out free ice cream bars at the door. Everyone, including fancy chefs, loves a cool strawberry shortcake on a stick. The after parties inevitably flowed downtown, with people reconvening at Blue Ribbon, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Spotted Pig, and Florent.

For the first time ever, the Who’s Who induction was a separate event on Saturday. The cocktail reception was hosted by Gourmet magazine at the Plaza Hotel. I do believe that the Terrace Room has some of the best air conditioning in the city, which was crucial in the 90+ degree heatwave. It was quite an elegant soiree and a lovely addition to the festivities.

By the time we arrived at the Sunday awards, everyone was much more relaxed (i.e. tired and hungover), better dressed and ready to go again. As the night progressed and the winners were announced and the champagne was uncorked, the evening took on a vivacious sparkling quality.

The after parities in the immediate vicinity were at P.J. Clarke’s, hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits, and a wine and paté malay in the downstairs room at Bar Boulud. As tradition dictates, there were spontaneous parties at Eleven Madison Park and Gramercy Tavern to celebrate their winnings. Everyone agreed they were two of the best after parties in recent years. Revelers did not seem to be deterred by the late hour and the staff kept pouring drinks and serving food.

I wonder how lunch service went for them today? I wondered if there would be any wine left to serve. The staff at both restaurants deserves their own After-Party Service Award for the fantastic job they did into the wee hours of the morning. Perhaps a new awards category to consider for next year. 

June 9, 2008 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

Update: Winners

Outstanding Service: Terra, St. Helena, CA, Owners: Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, Tartine Bakery, San Francisco
Lifetime Achievement: Fritz Maytag
Best New Restaurant: Central Michel Richard, Washington, D.C., Chef/Owner: Michel Richard
Outstanding Restaurateur: Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali, Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, NYC
Outstanding Restaurant: Gramercy Tavern, NYC, Owner: Danny Meyer
Outstanding Chef: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago (pictured)

More Books:
Asian Cooking: My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking, by Niloufer Ichaporia King
Photography: The Country Cooking of France, Photographer France Ruffenach
Single Subject: The River Cottage Meat Book, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Writing on Food: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingslover
Entertaining: Dish Entertains, by Trish Magwood
Cookbook of the Year: The River Cottage Meat Book, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Design:
Outstanding Restaurant Design: Tadao Ando Architect and Associates, Designer: Tadao Ando, Project: Morimoto (NYC)
Outstanding Restaurant Graphics: Robert Louey Design, Designers: Robert Louey and Claudia Pandji, Project: Sepia (Chicago)

America’s Classics:
Bagaduce Lunch, Brooksville, ME (Owner: Judy Astbury)
Irma’s Restaurant, Houston, TX (Owner: Irma Glavan)
Jumbo’s, Miami, FL (Owner: Bobby Flam)
Maneki, Seattle, WA (Owner: Jean Nakayama)
Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap, Chicago (Owner: Joseph DiBuono)

That’s it for the ceremony. Now, the party!

June 9, 2008 at 1:48 am Leave a comment

Welcome to the Official JBF Awards Blog

For the food world, the Beard Awards marks one of the most exciting nights of the year. With so much going on (red carpet arrivals, acceptance speeches, backstage moments, thousands of guests, gala reception, after parties) we’ve invited a team of guest bloggers, each with a unique perspective on the food industry, to help us bring the behind-the-scenes activities and poignant moments to you. Check back here throughout the night for updates about winners, video from the red carpet, and commentary from Savory Cities, The Paupered Chef, Snack, Dr. Vino, Julie Powell, and James Beard Foundation editors. 

June 8, 2008 at 12:06 pm Leave a comment


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