Interview with Ted Lemon, Nominated for Outstanding Wine, Beer, Spirits Professional

 

Ted Lemon, founder of Littorai Wines, has worked at wineries the world over, running a Burgundy estate (as the first American to do so) and consulting in New Zealand. His breadth of experience and passion for ethically growing and sourcing his ingredients make him a strong nominee for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. We spoke to him about the naming of his vineyard, the impact of the California drought, and more.

 

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JBF: Among your 2015 releases, what are you most excited about?

 

Ted Lemon: All of the vineyard-designated 2013 Pinot Noirs. They have muscle, grip, and a sense of place. Pretty is not the descriptor I would use.

 

JBF: Littorai means “coasts” in Latin. What’s the story behind this name?

 

TL: In 1993, [my wife] Heidi and I did not have the money to afford a trademark, so we needed something that was sufficiently obscure that no one would trademark it... Read more >

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Interview with Eli Kaimeh of Per Se, Nominated for Outstanding Restaurant

 

Although Per Se debuted a decade after a certain acclaimed sibling restaurant in California, this fine-dining temple, perched high in New York City's Time Warner building, has enjoyed its own abundant successes. The three-Michelin-starred property is an oasis on every level, beckoning epicureans from all corners of the globe with its unparalleled luxuries and cuisine. Below, we caught up with chef de cuisine Eli Kaimeh to get the inside scoop on the Outstanding Restaurant nominee’s tasting menus, the team's pioneering work with vegetables, and their take on gluten-free substitutions. 

 

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JBF: While some of Per Se’s signature dishes (such as oysters and pearls) remain, we know that the world-renowned menu is constantly evolving. Can you tell us about a dish or two that’s currently on the menu that really captures the restaurant’s point of... Read more >

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Interview with Stuart Brioza of the Progress, Nominated for Best New Restaurant

 

San Francisco power duo Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski are no stranger to the James Beard Awards: in 2013, the pair took home our Best New Restaurant medallion for State Bird Provisions, and now, just two years later, they’re nominated in the same category for their newest concept, the Progress, located just next door. Read on for Stuart Brioza's insights on the restaurant's unique shared-plates format, its organic environs, and where he plans to chow down in Chicago.

 

JBF: We’ve been asking all of the chefs behind our Best New Restaurant nominees to tell us the stories behind the restaurants’ names. Can you share yours?

 

Stuart Brioza: ​The Progress was actually the name of the theater that our restaurant’s building was originally built as in 1911.

 ... Read more >

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Interview with April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig, Nominated for Outstanding Restaurant

April Bloomfield

 

For ten years, the Spotted Pig has assuredly upheld an egalitarian ethos while also basking in enviable cultural cachet—no easy feat in one of the world’s most fickle and fastidious dining cities. Now that the restaurant has earned its first Outstanding Restaurant nomination, we discussed the Pig's enduring appeal, its under-the-radar best dishes, and more with executive chef April Bloomfield.

 

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JBF: Congrats on your nomination! All of our Outstanding Restaurant nominees have been operating for at least ten years. We’d love to hear your thoughts on why the Pig has been successful for an entire decade, and why New Yorkers continue to love to dine there.

 

AB: Thank you so much! We are thrilled to be nominated. It is such an honor to be recognized for this restaurant that means so much to me. I think people like the Pig because it offers a welcoming, comfy space where you can get delicious, consistent... Read more >

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Interview with Beverly Kim and Jon Clark of Best New Restaurant Nominee Parachute

Beverly Kim and Jon Clark of Parachute

 

At Parachute, a 40 seater in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood, husband-and-wife team Jon Clark and Beverly Kim present a unique vision of Korean-American cuisine, borrowing flavors from France, China, Morocco, and elsewhere. Read on to learn more about the duo and their Best New Restaurant–nominated venture.

 

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JBF: Your website describes the cuisine as globally inspired Korean-American. What inspires you when you’re developing your dishes and menu?

 

JC + BK: There are several different inspirations to our dishes. The product themselves inspire us to create dishes that highlight the seasons. We're also inspired by our food memories.

 

JBF: What’s the story behind the restaurant’s name? 

 

JC + BK: To us, Parachute is a personal story of turning negatives to positives. It also represents having an open mind, being free flowing, and safety. ... Read more >

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Interview with David Chang of Outstanding Restaurant Nominee Momofuku Noodle Bar

 

When David Chang opened his first restaurant in 2004, he lit a ramen-noodle fuse that set off a New York sensation and a launching pad for an international empire. Now that Momofuku Noodle Bar is an Outstanding Restaurant nominee, we caught up with the culinary icon—a winner of nearly every Beard Award (and non-Beard Award) out there and one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People—to discuss why he considers himself a “normavore,” the inspiration behind Momofuku’s cult-favorite culinary lab, and the unsung heroes of his business.

 

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JBF: You won the Rising Star Chef award while you were at Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2007, Outstanding Chef in 2013, and now the restaurant itself is up for Outstanding Restaurant this year. Can you tell us anything about Noodle Bar’s evolution during this time?

 

... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal

 

The revival of mezcal as a celebrated spirit was anything but an overnight success. Ron Cooper, nominated for the Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits professional, has worked tirelessly for the last two decades to bring the traditions of Oaxaca to the global market through his company, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal. Read on to learn more about Del Maguey’s humble origins, Cooper’s devotion to tradition, and how the dedication to highlighting and supporting the local Mexican distillers has transformed mezcal into the darling of craft bartending. 

 

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JBF: It's written that your work as an artist is what led you to make mezcal. How does your background in art continue to inform your products?

 

Ron Cooper: For everyone at Del Maguey, these Single Village mezcals... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace Distillery

 

Harlen Wheatley is an undisputed whiskey authority: at Buffalo Trace Distillery, one of America’s most acclaimed and historic bourbon producers, the man has worked on every aspect of the business, from sourcing raw materials to barrel-aging. We got in touch with the 2015 Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional award nominee to get the scoop on his standard drink order, how his chemistry background has informed his product, and the lowdown on the cult-like Pappy brand. 

 

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JBF: Buffalo Trace is one of the oldest distilleries in the county, having crafted bourbon whiskey for over 200 years and counting. How would you sum up the philosophy of the distillery and your products? 

 

Harlen Wheatley: The philosophy is to honor our legacy while embracing change.  We focus on delivering authentic products that consumers can have confidence in while balancing innovation... Read more >

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Our Favorite Quotes from Beard on Books with JBF Award Winner Mindy Segal

 

Our Beard on Books program invites people to the Beard House to listen to chefs and authors share their insights on the captivating food world. Last Wednesday, we showcased JBF Award winner Mindy Segal, who recently released her first cookbook, Cookie Love. This beautiful tome provides innovative techniques and fun interpretations of classic recipes from a self-professed “cookie nerd.” Segal exposes the reader to unexpected ingredients and creative flavor combinations in her recipes. 

 

Here are some of our favorite insights from Mindy:

 

1) "I chose cookies because they are a much better gift than a bundt cake. You get a tin of cookies and you’re really excited about it. There’s a cookie for everybody. If you like crispy cookies, you can have chocolate chip cookies. If you like soft cookies you could have rugelach cookies with fresh jam. Instead of just raspberry jam, you can put smoked almond streusel and... Read more >

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Interview with JBF Award Nominee Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

 

 

Craft beers have never been hotter, but despite all the up-and-coming brewing bon vivants, the veteran Dogfish Head Craft Brewery continues to draw in hopheads with its quirky and innovative small-batch beers. This is due in no small part to the drive and creativity of Sam Calagione, founder and president of Dogfish Head and two-time nominee for JBF's Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional award. We sat down with Calagione to pick his brain on the latest trends in the brewing scene, his recommendations for Chicago suds, and more.

 

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JBF: When you were first nominated, you named Sixty-One as your favorite of Dogfish Head’s beers. Does it still hold that title, or do you have a new favorite?

 

Sam Calagione: I am still enjoying the heck out of Sixty-One, our Syrah grape–infused IPA, but now that the weather is warming up, I’m having a lot more of Namaste, which is our wheat beer brewed... Read more >

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