Louise McCready: Oysters

Hank's oyster bar and commonwealth gastropub preparing swiss chard and baby carrot stuffed pickled trout rolls. img00031

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Meredith Arthur: Hines wins Best Chef: Northwest

I hadn't heard of Seattle-based chef Maria Hines, but she made a great entrance. She was out cooking for the event and came running in to accept her Best Chef: Northwest award in the nick of time. When she did make it to the stage she thanked her wife for allowing her to put a lien on the house to open the restaurant. It was adorable and showed how truly hardworking chefs really are.

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Jody Williams: Women and money

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!

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Jody Williams: Cracking the glass ceiling

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!

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Adam Sachs: Screaming fans

Smiling stragglers Wiley Dufresne and Dave Chang are standing together saying something to the diminishing press line. There are some fans and I believe they are literally screaming. Or cooing. Seeing the two of them makes me think of their eponymous hot dogs at PDT. Hungry. How long till the gala?

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Jody Williams: About time

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

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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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