America’s Classic: Noriega Restaurant and Hotel, Bakersfield, CA

Originally founded as a home away from home for shepherds, today the institution showcases the Basque culture of California’s San Joaquin Valley.

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Awards Watch: Matt Jennings, where were you when…?

Matt Jennings of La Laiterie in Providence was headed back from a sourcing trip to Vermont with his staff when they got the news that he was nominated for Best Chef: Northeast: “So there we were, in northern New Hampshire, in a big rented van that smelled like wet farm animal, with glass bottles of maple syrup clanking around in the back and the crew singing along to “Bennie and the Jets,” when all of a sudden, we came within cell phone range and all of our phones started bleeping and blinging. Text messages arrived from other staff, friends, and family, and we logged onto Twitter to discover it was true—we had made the final cut! We were temped to pull over to the nearest bar for a quick shot, but we were still about a three-hour drive from home!”

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Immaculate Infatuation: Lifetime Acheivement

Why isn't Kevin Zraly on television? This guy is amazing.

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Megan & MHT: Again with the Pigs

Pigs Are the Whistlepig Whiskey pigs already hitting the bottle? There's still some show, guys!

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Lifetime Achievement Award: Kevin Zraly

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Kevin Zraly, the country’s foremost authority on wine. But Zraly says he’s not slowing down, “Just because this is a lifetime achievement award doesn’t mean I’m done working!”

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Megan & MHT: Rachel Yang's Ultra-Fermented Dish

Rachel Yang, chef at Seattle's Joule created an ultra-fermented dish for tonight's gala, Korean bean paste-cured and cold-smoked walu (another name for Escolar) with fennel kimchi."My mom didn't teach me to make kimchi," Yang jokes, "but I did learn from my grandmother and some other people. You can make kimchi out of anything, cabbage, fennel and apple, shiitakes." She starts her kimchi with ginger, pear, garlic, onion, and fish sauce. The pears serve a dual purpose: their sweetness balances th

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Even More Winners!

Outstanding Restaurant Design: Darling Design, Bar Agricole, San Francisco Outstanding Restaurant Graphics: Love and War, The National Bar & Dining Rooms, NYC Outstanding Service Award (Presented By Stella Artois): Per Se, NYC, Chef/Owner: Thomas Keller Outstanding Pastry Chef Award: Angela Pinkerton, Eleven Madison Park, NYC The final awards of the night are up next, including the coveted Outstanding Chef award, so stay tuned!

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Immaculate Infatuation: Next Year, Canlis

Oh well, we were really pulling for our Seattle friends at Canlis for the Outstanding Service Award. Tough competition, though.

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Immaculate Infatuation: Some Decent Music After All

Arcade Fire as background music of this National Food Conference video recap. Could be worse. Oh wow, Foster The People, too? Well done, JBFA.

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Immaculate Infatuation Approves

Love the National getting some recognition, even if it's just for the design. The pork chop ain't bad either.

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