Jody Williams: About time

Ted Allen says it is about time to pay homage to the under-represented other half.

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Adam Sachs: That somethin' somethin'

B. Smith, defying the rainy gloom in a bright, pretty pink dress: "This is a long time coming. Long time coming. Women bring an extra somethin' somethin'. Men are great, we love men. But I think women bring something different, a certain style and a different kind of management. We've been in the kitchen for years so this is a great thing."

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Meredith Arthur: More arrivals

I'm standing next to the arriving line as the check in parade happens. Hugh Acheson of 5&10 in Athens, Georgia, just told me that the psychiatrist from the Sopranos just walked in. He's a three-time nominee from the Southeast who I am now rooting for due to his niceness. That's all it takes with me.

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Jody Williams: Picture time

Lots of group picture-taking--in one corner we have Dan Barber and not far behind there is Thomas Keller under the lights.

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Jody Williams: Bells are ringing

Signaling that it is time to sit or eat...let's go take a look.

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Adam Sachs: Mafia wedding

It feels like a food-world mafia wedding out here under the portico. A bespectacled Alain Ducasse sneaks by the press table undetected. Emeril is chatting and taking photos with Traci Des Jardins. Gregarious Drew Nieporent stops by in a pale pink bow tie. So what about women in food? I ask. "Are you kidding me?" says Drew. "Leslie Revson, Deborah Ponzack, Traci Des Jardins, Patricia Williams, Claudia Fleming (way before Gramercy). It has nothing to do with gender--it has to do with talent and giving people opportunity. I think I've lead in that category." And the pink tie? "This is the only tie I've got that fits--nothing to do with gender there either."

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Jody Williams: Arrivals

The doors are open, the rain is pouring. Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Traci DesJardins, Drew Nieporent, all are squeezing into the reception. Dishes still empty and stations awaiting...

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Louise McCready: Women weigh in

Some might be surprised that this year's JBF Awards recognizes women in food considering women have long been associated with the kitchen. Julia Child is one of the most recognizable names in food, but it's important to keep in mind that her audience was post-war housewives eager to make their husbands happy with coq au vin and mousse au chocolat. Before 24/7 food television, celebrity chefs, and best-selling kitchen-tell-alls, men ruled the kitchen because cooking was considered a blue-collar profession for those with few other options—an unsuitable profession for a "lady." Hopefully, this year's awards ceremony represents a change in public opinion and in practice. When asked what she thought about the fact that so many fewer females become chefs, Maria Hines from Tilth said, "I definitely hope this changes things. I think it's great that JBF hosts this event and gives us a chance to be in the spotlight." Jennifer Coco from Flat Iron Cafe sees the disparity in numbers between male and female chefs as inspiration. "I hope it doesn't change because people are always so surprised to see me! It gives me energy and motivates me!" Suzanne Tracht from Jar thinks the ratio of male to

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Meredith Arthur: Moonstruck

The big plaza in front of Avery Fisher Hall will always say Moonstruck to me, and I bet the nominees feel like the post-makeover Cher awaiting Nicholas Cage. It's bright and rainy out and there's a feeling of drizzled anticipation in this room. I'll try not to draw movie comparisons all night but can make no promises.

Meredith Arthur, CHOW

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Snack: Signing on

This year's James Beard Awards couldn't be more different than the last. Last year's heat wave required attire of linen and flip flops while this evening's rain requires something a bit more solid and water resistant for the red carpet. Fingers-crossed that the monsoon abaits a bit. I attended '08 solo, while tonight I have Monsieur Snack as The Escort. Fingers-crossed on that category as well. Which leaves me a bit torn between schmoozing in the press room and smooching in the theatre. Perhaps I can have my gâteau and eat it too.

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