The black-tied chefs here tonight who toil in fine dining kitchens have no doubt earned the honors they receive, but there's a special place in everyone's heart for the winners of the America's Classics. These local eateries are fixtures in their communities. They are the places you want to eat should you find yourself in the neighborhood. Most have been around for generations. And they serve the sort of down-home, delicious food that James Beard loved. Here is a complete list
of the more than 60 recipients who have received this special award.
But they've been setting up since this afternoon.
Jamie Leeds---the chef of Hank's Oyster Bar and Commonwealth Gastropub in Washington, D.C.---has three restaurants. She did it in five years. Women need to talk about money: how did you finance your restaurants? Leeds cashed out her 401k and mortgaged her house! Advice to the young: follow your dream even if you have to buy secondhand plates!
Be sure to check our twitter feed (on the right side of your screen) to see the winners as they're announced!
A crowded press room. People in black tie watching the awards on TV. There is a palpable need for strong martinis. We're in luck. Sort of. The lovely Charlotte Voisey, William Grant & Sons mixologist, has a plan to save us all from our worst instincts. Tonight at the Hendricks Gin Bar she's serving thematically correct Reverse Martinis. "This was Julia Childs's favorite cocktail---very sophisticated and Julia knew best that too much ethanol before dinner killed your palate. Instead of 5-to-1 gin to vermouth, she drank 5-to-1 vermouth to gin." For tonight's VIP dinner, Voisey is swapping Lillet for vermouth. "It seemed right that we pay tribute to Julia with this drink." Fitting and probably saving VIP from standing for Very Inebriated Press.
I asked 22 year-old CIA graduate Nicole whether it's still harder for women in the kitchen. She says women still have to work twice as hard. Her boss, Maria Hines of Tilth (who works for love and finances her own restaurant), tells women to stand their ground and become chefs!
Aldo Sohm is adorable and entirely self deprecating. He just won for Outstanding Wine Service. Now they are opening old wounds and Ted Allen is recapping last night's award ceremonies (I lost in the webcast category and CHOW lost in the website category), which has me already looking forward to next year.
Forget the Most Beautiful People in the World on the cover, serious foodies are flipping past those pages in this week's People
to see what the five JBF Outstanding Chef Award nominees can cook with $10. The real question is who will walk away with the top award of the night. .
Which is a good thing as it means there's more and more interest. I think we need a bigger room and more cocktail sponsors!
He's hosting this evening apparently because he plays Paul Child in the upcoming film Julie and Julia--he's brought a special sneak peek with him, he says. I'm looking forward to it since like everyone else I am enchanted by any story I can find of Julia and Paul's relationship. By the way, SF hometown boy Nate Appleman just won rising star of the year, first award of the night.