Just as movie stars vie for an Academy Award and television stars wish for an Emmy, food stars dream of taking home the ultimate prize in the culinary industry: a James Beard Award. Honoring a commitment to excellence, the James Beard Foundation recognizes those restaurants, chefs, and food and spirits professionals who’ve proved they and their businesses offer the quintessential dining experience — something to which their peers can aspire. In New York City last night, nominees from 20 categories, including Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Service and Outstanding Restaurant, gathered in Avery Fisher Hall with some of the biggest names in the industry, like Food Network’s own Anne Burrell, Ted Allen and Aarón Sánchez, for the chance to earn a coveted Beard medal.
Before the ceremony got under way, nominees, presenters, past winners and Foundation members strutted their stuff on the red carpet, and FN Dish was on hand to chat with them. For these passionate chefs and food people, there’s seemingly no insurmountable kitchen task or meal they couldn’t create flawlessly at home, but, still, given the award-worthy meals coming out of top-notch restaurants, Dish editors were curious: What meals do restaurant chefs prefer not to make themselves, and indulge in only when dining out?
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Restaurant owner. Professional chef. Author. Chopped judge. Chopped All-Stars Champion. Philanthropist.
Marcus Samuelsson’s list of accolades is a long one, and after yesterday’s James Beard Foundation Books, Broadcast & Journalism Awards, it became even more impressive. At New York City’s Gotham Hall surrounded by renown chef superstars, the leaders in food writing and the who’s-who in the culinary industry, including his Chopped peer and event host Ted Allen, Marcus accepted the Writing and Literature award for his latest book, Yes, Chef: A Memoir. He’s now a four-time James Beard Award-winning chef, having been lauded as Rising Star Chef and Best Chef: New York City and for Best International Cookbook in 1999, 2003 and 2007, respectively.
Telling the story of how Marcus moved from his birthplace in Ethiopia to Sweden and later to New York City, Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus’ lowest and highest moments both personally and professionally. The book was published in 2012, just two years after he opened his dream restaurant, Red Rooster, in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, allowing for the crisscrossing of cultures and cuisines in the area. After thanking his wife and family for believing in Yes, Chef, Marcus gave “a special shout out to Harlem” before returning to his table to celebrate.
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On Friday, May 3, the James Beard Foundation will have its annual Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards. And this year, Food Network’s own Ted Allen has the honor of hosting the event, one of the biggest in the culinary world. Ted isn’t a stranger to the awards — last year he was the winner for best Media Personality/Host for Chopped, beating out Ina Garten and Sara Moulton. Chopped also won for best Television Program in a Studio or Fixed Location. With all his experience hosting, the JBF awards should be a piece of cake for Ted. But does he have anything to fear?
We caught up with Ted to chat about his hosting responsibilities, his view on the awards ceremony and what he thinks is the next big thing to look out for in the food world.
Read Ted’s interview below
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On Monday night the food industry celebrated the best of the best from the past year at the 2012 James Beard Awards at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. Often referred to as the Oscars of food, the evening honored both well-known chefs (the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Wolfgang Puck) and up-and-coming stars (Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York won Rising Star Chef of the Year). Get the full list of winners here and check out our photos from the red carpet below.
James Beard Award-winner and Chopped host Ted Allen snapped his own photos.
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Friday night while guests dined on Alex Guarnaschelli’s delicious organic chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, among other tasty courses, the food industry celebrated Food Network’s very own. The awards, which were emceed by JBF award winners Michael Symon and Martha Teichner, celebrate excellence in food media. Chopped won the award for best Television Program, in Studio or Fixed Location, category and Ted Allen took home the award for best Media Personality/Host, also for Chopped.
Ted thanked the 9 judges that he works with on Chopped including Marcus Samuelsson, Marc Murphy, Amanda Freitag and Scott Conant, who were also in attendance. He said, “The judges on our show are so much a part of what our show is … these are the people that make me look smart and teach me things.” After winning his second award of the night he mused, “Having one is nice but when they clink together …”
Congratulations to all of the 2012 James Beard Award nominees and winners.
This coming Monday, the James Beard Foundation will host its annual Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center to honor the chefs and restaurateurs who made the food industry unforgettable in 2011. This year, the foundation has asked Food Network’s own Alton Brown to host the awards. A true entertainer and culinary superstar, Alton’s no stranger to hosting gigs. Between Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America and previous seasons of Food Network Star, the James Beard Foundation should rest easy knowing they have a pro on stage.
Last year, Alton Brown was awarded the Best TV Food Personality Award for Good Eats. Prior to that, in 2003, he was awarded the Book Award in the Reference category for his first book, I’m Just Here for the Food (2002).
We recently caught up with Alton to ask him about this honor, especially since the foundation will be celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.
You’ve hosted numerous shows on Food Network, but this somehow seems different. What are you doing to prepare? Are you nervous?
Prepare? Absolutely. A couple of jokes and an escape route. Nervous? Let’s say I’m appropriately aware.
More from Alton after the jump
This weekend, the James Beard Foundation will host it’s Journalism Awards dinner on Friday and Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center on Monday to honor the chefs and restaurateurs who made an indelible impression on the food industry in 2011. While this is a special occasion any year, this year it’s extra special as they celebrate their silver anniversary: It’s been 25 years since the James Beard Foundation officially opened the James Beard House as an American center for the culinary arts.
You’ve heard it before that these two events are like the Oscars of the food world. While we look forward to the food and newest , we wanted to know what Susan Ungaro, president of the foundation, was looking forward to the most.
1. Red Carpet Celebrity Chef Moments: It’s so exciting to greet all the special guest presenters and chef nominees as they arrive at Lincoln Center. Every one of them is a star for the evening. I’m especially looking forward to welcoming our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Wolfgang Puck, who is being introduced this year by Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts.
More from Susan Ungaro
The James Beard Foundation announced the final nominees for the 2012 James Beard Awards at an event in Las Vegas today, and Food Network has not one but three reasons to celebrate: Ted Allen and Ina Garten are nominated for Best TV Food Personality/Host and Chopped has been nominated for Best Television Program, In Studio or a Fixed Location.
The winners of each category will be announced on Monday, May 7, in New York City as Food Network’s own Alton Brown hosts the event.
Alton won’t be the only Food Network chef making an appearance on stage. On Friday, May 4, James Beard Award-winning chef and Food Network Iron Chef Michael Symon, along with four-time James Beard Award-winning correspondent Martha Teichner, will co-host the annual James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner.
Continue reading: The complete list of 2012 James Beard Award nominees
The James Beard Foundation announced today that one of Food Network’s favorite personalities and multiple James Beard Award winning celebrity chef Alton Brown will host the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards on May 7 in New York City.
He won’t be the only Food Network chef making an appearance on stage. On Friday, May 4, James Beard Award winning chef and Food Network Iron Chef Michael Symon, along with four-time James Beard Award winning correspondent Martha Teichner, will co-host the annual James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner.
Read the entire press release »