Awards Watch: Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists Announced Next Week; Nominees Will Be Announced in San Francisco

2016 James Beard Awards

The first milestone of Beard Awards season arrives next week! On the morning of Wednesday, February 17, we'll post the complete Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists right here on the JBF blog. The list will include semifinalists for our ten regional "Best Chef" awards, as well as for national honors like Outstanding Restaurant, Rising Star Chef of the Year, and Outstanding Bar Program.

 

Where do the semifinalists come from? The process began in October with an open call online; anyone could submit up to two entries per category. After receiving about 20,000 submissions, our Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee, compose... Read more >

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The Bookshelf: Vegetarian India with JBF Award Winner Madhur Jaffrey

 

It’s no exaggeration to call Madhur Jaffrey the “Godmother of Indian Cooking.” The actress, chef, and multiple JBF Award–winning author has been guiding natives and Indophilic foreigners through the subtleties of the Subcontinent’s edible empire since her first cookbook was published in 1973. Last week, she visited the Beard House to share stories and insights from her latest work, Vegetarian India (Knopf), for our monthly Beard on Books series. During his introduction, JBF executive vice president Mitchell Davis explained that this was, in fact, a triumphant return—Jaffrey was the very first author to kick off our Beard on Books series, and even before that, was a friend “when there was no James Beard Foundation, only a James Beard.”

 

Read on for some of our favorite snippets fr... Read more >

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Eye Candy: Pork Belly with Celeriac Purée, Braised Apples, and Apple Jelly

 

Perched on the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont's historic Basin Harbor Club beckons guests with its spectacular surroundings and singular cuisine—much of which comes directly from the resort’s bountiful on-site farm. Last month, lucky Beard House guests sampled the rich flavors of the Green Mountain State’s terroir when chef Christian Kruse served up a hyper-seasonal feast. His menu brimmed with dishes like golden beet risotto, graham-crusted venison with spiced pear purée, and a curried delicata squash soup that would make any New Englander proud. A true standout of the night was Kruse’s luscious 16-hour-cooked local pork belly with creamy celeriac purée. Tart and juicy Champlain Orchards apples accompanied the dish in a trio of preparations: braised, jellied, and whipped into an airy foam. By the end of the evening, guests were ready to book their next Vermont getaway,... Read more >

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Recipe: Cornmeal-Fried Pickles

 

Known for his regional classics at New Orleans hot spot Purloo, Ryan Hughes recently traveled to New York to give Beard House diners a flavor-packed glimpse into his love affair with Lowcountry cuisine. One of our favorites: his utterly addictive fried pickles, which were taken to the next level with crispy cornmeal and fragrant crab boil seasoning, yielding a perfectly salty, sour fried treat. Get the recipe to give these a whirl at home.

 

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Hilary Deutsch is editorial assistant at... Read more >

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Ask a Chef: New Hampshire Native Brett Cavanna

 

After coming up the ranks at FIG and Café Boulud, chef Brett Cavanna returned to his native New Hampshire to helm the kitchen at Louie’s, where he offers up comforting, handcrafted pastas and rustic Italian fare. For his upcoming Beard House dinner, Cavanna will serve a delicious, stick-to-your-ribs winter feast—the perfect antidote to mid-February doldrums. In anticipation of his comfort-fare fête, we spoke to the chef about his love affair with agnolotti, his Beard House menu inspiration, and why chicken tenders are still great at any age.

 

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 ... Read more >

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Recipe: Dan Dan Noodles for Chinese New Year

 

Today marks the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, which is traditionally celebrated with a week's worth of festivities, including elaborate ceremonies, vibrant parades, and a large banquet in honor of one’s ancestors.​ The holiday is always a spirited celebration at the Beard House, and this year’s fusion-inspired feast is no exception: we'll ring in the Year of the Monkey with some of D.C.’s top toques, as Peter Chang, Scott Drewno, and K.N. Vinod prepare a jubilant meal uniting Sichuan, Cali-Asian, and Indian cuisines. Can't make it tonight? Don't fret, we have the perfect recipe in mind for you to whip up your own Chinese New Year feast at home. 

 

One of our all-time fav... Read more >

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Featured Menu: Chinese New Year: East and West

 

With over 200 events at the Beard House each year, our calendar is overflowing with top toques and rising stars from restaurant kitchens across the country. Each dinner at the Beard House is a unique culinary experience, but every so often a specific event will have our stomachs rumbling simply by scanning the menu. Read on to learn which event has piqued our palates lately.

 

Monday, February 8, 2016
Chinese New Year: East and West

 

From a young age James Beard was exposed to the myriad flavors and spices of Chinese cooking, thanks to Let, his family’s cook. So it’s no surprise that Chinese New Year is always a spirited celebration at the Beard House, and this year is no exception. We’ll be ringing in the Year of the Monkey with some of D.C.’s top toques, such as Peter Chang, Scott Drewno, and K.N. Vinod prepare a jubilant meal uniting Sichuan, Cali-Asian, and... Read more >

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Awards Watch: How the Book Awards Are Judged

 

Tell people you are a food writer and often they assume you're a restaurant critic. 

 

It's the same when I tell people that I serve on the James Beard Foundation's Book Awards subcommittee. They assume I pick the winning books. The reality is that my fellow subcommittee members and I are administrators, not judges. 

 

Each January, we gather at the Foundation's accounting firm in New York City with the 400-plus books that have been entered for consideration. We review all of the books to make sure they qualify based on the rules. We make sure they are entered in the correct categories. We each oversee a category or two and assign independent judges to those categories. Each category has four j... Read more >

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What We're Reading This Week

 

Super Bowl food can be delicious and filling for veggie lovers, too. [Bon Appétit]

 

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz brings French fries into the debate. [MUNCHIES]

 

A simple purée is the “building block” of a marvelous dish. [Saveur

 

Revisiting our roots: foods that delighted Americans a century ago. [Washington Post

 

NASA has invented a “plant pillow” to grow lettuce in space. [Modern Farmer] ... Read more >

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Happy Hour: The Franklin Bar's Night Sledding Cocktail

 

Now that we're in the throes of winter, there's nothing more appealing than cozying up to a boozy beverage at home on a blustering Friday night. We've got your drink plans covered: dive into the Night Sledding cocktail from Philadelphia's Franklin Bar, a 2015 semifinalist for our Outstanding Bar Program award. General manager Sara Justice channeled the flavors of childhood when creating this herbaceous tippler featuring a cooling... Read more >

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