2013 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Cecilia Chiang


The Lifetime Achievement award is given to an individual whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat, cook, and/or think about food in America.


Restaurateur Cecilia Chiang recalls James Beard’s delight after his first meal at her landmark San Francisco Chinese restaurant, The Mandarin, in the early 1960s. “This is so different from what I had before. This is very tasty. What do you call this kind of food?” she remembers him asking. Unlike most Americans at the time, Beard’s experience with Chinese food extended beyond bland, Americanized dishes like chow mein and egg foo young. His Chinese-born childhood housekeeper, Let, had been an accomplished chef whose cooking made a deep impression on Beard at an early age. Even so, the profound flavors in Chiang’s northern Chinese, Shanghai, and Sichuan specialties were unlike anything Beard had ever tasted before.


Authentic, regional dishes such as beggar’s chicken (baked in clay), Sichuan spicy... Read more >

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Gala Chef Q & A: JBF Award Winner Douglas Rodriguez

JBF Award winner Douglas Rodriguez


JBF Award Winner Douglas Rodriguez, Alma de Cuba, Philadelphia


What’s your go-to guilty-pleasure food?

Chinese food.


What’s your favorite movie, and why?

Austin Powers, because it makes me laugh.


Describe the last great meal you ate.

Tuna air bread, filled with Caesar salad dressing foam and tuna sashimi, at Makoto Bal Harbor Miami. Just delicious.


What’s the dish you’re most proud of?

Smoked marlin tacos.


What’s your favorite movie snack?

Salted cashews with buttered popcorn.


What’s your earliest food memory?

French onion soup.


What do you eat for breakfast?

Good strong coffee.


What’s your favorite healthy food?

Any and all vegetables.

 ... Read more >

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Gala Chef Q & A: JBF Award Winner Christina Tosi

JBF Award winner Christina Tosi


JBF Award Winner Christina Tosi, Momofuku Milk Bar, NYC


What are your go-to guilty-pleasure foods?

Nachos and cookie dough.


What’s your favorite movie, and why?

Desk Set. Katharine Hepburn has such wit, such intelligence, but is still a silly gal. I love the enthusiasm, charm, and pace of the movie.


Describe the last great meal you ate.

I just had dinner at St. Anselm in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We ordered nearly everything on the menu and died for it all.


What’s your earliest food memory?

Grilled cheese and tomato soup.


What’s the dish you’re most proud of?

Cereal milk panna cotta with avocado purée, chocolate-hazelnut, and cornflake crunch. And the fried apple pie with miso butterscotch and sour ice cream. I created them... Read more >

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America's Classic: Prince's Hot Chicken Shack


123 Ewing Drive, Nashville 
Owner: Andre Prince Jeffries


Hot fried chicken, long popular in towns across the South, has become synonymous with Nashville. A visit to town doesn’t count unless you make the pilgrimage to this joint, set in an abbreviated strip mall alongside a nail salon, for crispy yardbird with a cayenne-soaked coat of armor.


Thornton Prince was the original owner. He was a handsome fellow. One of his girlfriends grew weary of his late-night carousing. As a revenge tactic, she doused his Sunday morning favorite, fried chicken, with cayenne pepper. But her plan backfired: he liked it. By the mid-1930s Prince and his brothers had perfected the process and opened a café, which they originally called the BBQ Chicken Shack.


Current owner Andre Prince Jeffries, great-niece of Thornton Prince, continues the family tradition. She brines her chicken, flours it, fries it to order, and slathers it with a secret layer of hot spices. You can order it... Read more >

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2013 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Emeril Lagasse

This award is given to an individual or organization working in the realm of food who has given selflessly and worked tirelessly to better the lives of others and society at large.


Critically acclaimed for his interpretation of Creole and Cajun cuisine and nationally adored as an enthusiastic TV personality, Emeril Lagasse first kicked American cuisine up a notch at Emeril’s Restaurant in New Orleans three decades ago. Since then he has opened 12 additional restaurants, published 17 cookbooks, seen his catchphrases work their way into the vernacular, and extended his brand with kitchen and food products. While his empire grew, the JBF Award–winning chef also applied the values that lie at the heart of the hospitality industry to his philanthropic mission: youth advocacy in the communities where his restaurants operate.


“Inspire, mentor, enable” declares the tagline for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation (ELF), which has raised $5.3 million for children’s education and culinary arts programs in... Read more >

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Gala Chef Q & A: JBF Award Winner Allison-Vines Rushing and Slade Rushing

Slade Rushing and Allison-Vines Rushing


JBF Award Winner Allison-Vines Rushing and Slade Rushing, MiLa, New Orleans


What’s your go-to guilty-pleasure food?

AVR: Black-eyed pea and Jack cheese burritos.

SR: Taco Bell.


Describe the last great meal you ate.

AVR and SR: At the Catbird Seat in Nashville. It was delicious and whimsical.


What’s the dish you’re most proud of?

AVR: New Orleans barbecued lobster.

SR: The root beer float at MiLa.


What’s your favorite movie snack?

AVR: Truffle popcorn.

SR: Pizza.


What was your first job in the culinary world?

AVR: Kenny Rogers Roasters.

SR: Papa Gino’s Pizza in Warwick, Rhode Island.


What movie are you ashamed to admit you love?
AVR: Blue Crush.

SR: The ‘Burbs.... Read more >

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Food in Film: Passion

Take a look at some steamy love scenes starring food.

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Gala Chef Q & A: JBF Award Winner Marcus Samuelsson

JBF Award winner Marcus Samuelsson


JBF Award Winner Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster Harlem, NYC


What’s your favorite movie, and why?

I like the movie Casino because the acting is so great and all the characters are fantastic. A Thin Red Line is also a favorite. The cinematography is so beautiful.


Describe the last great meal you ate.

I took my wife for her first meal at Nobu recently. Nobu was there and he cooked lunch for us. It was special to be able to share it with her, and the food was incredible, as always. The flavors are spot-on every time.


What’s the dish you’re most proud of?

I am most proud of my grandmother’s meatballs, a dish that I serve at Red Rooster. Her cooking is the reason why I do this.


What’s your favorite movie snack?

Either plain salted peanuts or there’s also a mix of Ethiopian peanuts and barley that is especially... Read more >

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Food in Film: Family

Some of our favorite moments in food and film happen around the family table.


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America's Classic: Keens Steakhouse


72 W. 36th Street, NYC 
Owner: George Schwarz


New York City specializes in new restaurants, not old ones, and local interest in them is generally measured in months instead of years. So it’s nothing short of astonishing that a 120-something-year-old restaurant has managed to stay both relevant and wildly popular in the middle of Manhattan.


Albert Keen, a theater producer, opened the restaurant in 1885, when the Herald Square Theatre District thrived. Actors came in for a drink between acts. Today, the walls are decorated with over 50,000 clay pipes, donated by celebrated customers like Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein, souvenirs from an era when smoke clouded many restaurants. George Schwarz, the current owner, took over in the late 1970s, investing much money and sweat equity in reviving the restaurant.


What Keens has always done well is to age and grill meat. It was one of the first restaurants to... Read more >

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