#tbt: The James Beard Awards

As this is all still new, I wanted to toss a little explanation out there into the blogosphere. With all the trending hashtags and such out there, #throwbackthursday gave me an idea. I thought I’d commandeer the idea and jump on this hashtag as a way to acknowledge some past culinary events, or personal experiences, that I believe warrant some press. So, here is the first installment of many #tbt to come. 

I actually wrote this before the awards, but I like it… so I didn’t go back and change everything. A piece from the past, if you will.

With warmer weather making its way up the east coast and spring blossoms starting to appear, culinarians everywhere will be turning their  collective gaze toward New York and Chicago in the coming months. jamesbeardawardfb.0.0The James Beard Awards are imminent and the final nominees have been announced. Every year, these awards recognize the best of the best and have become arguably the most regaled honors to receive in the business. The road leading to the James Beard Awards kicked off when the semifinalists were announced on February 17, whetting the appetite of those who wait for the awards every year. After sweating it out for almost a month, the final list of nominees was announced at a live press conference in San Francisco on March 15. Once again, the culinary world was filled with anticipation and the waiting game had begun…

On April 26, chefs, authors and broadcasters will gather at Chelsea Pier in NYC for the Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards. These awards acknowledge the food writers, cookbook authors and television personalities that have distinguished themselves and risen above the crowd over the last year. A week later on May 2, the James Beard Awards Gala will take place at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago for the second year in a row. There, they will commend the best restaurants, recognize the outstanding chefs, pastry chefs and spirit professionals of 2015 and showcase the new talent rising in the culinary industry. 

Although these events were created for professionals, they are open to the public. While the tickets carry a hefty price tag, the opportunity to be in a ming tsairoom with some of the most formidable culinary professionals in the business is enough to make any serious foodie consider loosening those purse strings. The Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards will be hosted by Ming Tsai at a slightly more casual event than the gala in Chicago. With a $350 ticket and some business attire, you could be enjoying drinks with famed foodies before the dinner and awards ceremony. With nominees like Jacques Pepin and Lidia Bastianich, the BB&J awards in New York are merely a different genre of awards than the gala in Chicago, but certainly not any less prestigious.

Carla Hall will be hosting the James Beard Awards Gala at the carla hallLyric Opera House. The black-tie affair carries a $500 ticket price for the general public while being a member of the James Beard Foundation does grant you a discount. The awards ceremony kicks off the night and is immediately followed by the gala reception. Both hosts are incredibly charismatic and promise to bring even more entertainment to the awards ceremonies. Undoubtedly, there will be humor, anecdotes about the chefs attending the awards and shared respect for the nominees at both ceremonies. 

Affectionately known as the ‘culinary Oscars’, the James Beard Awards have become a spectacle not to be missed. Being nominated for one of these awards is enough to make any chef feel accomplished; the recognition alone could boost a career or help quell the quiet insecurities all good chefs have learned to overcome. I have been privileged to work for a couple of chefs who have been nominated for and won one of these prestigious awards. I have yet to attend either of the award ceremonies. I see that changing…

If you’d like to know learn more about the awards or who won a James Beard Award this year, the James Beard Foundation has an abundance of information available on their website.

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