Reflections on a Delicious Legacy: JBF Celebrates 25 years of Shining a Spotlight on Chefs

Adapted excerpt from the introduction to The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs

This article is excerpted and adapted from the introduction to The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs, which is being published this spring. Preorder your copy today from our Amazon store.

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Looking back on the past 25 years, it’s hard to believe how much American food and food culture has evolved. When the James Beard Foundation was founded in November 1986 by Peter Kump, Julia Child, and other friends and colleagues of James Beard, no one could have imagined that there would one day be two 24-hour television networks devoted to food programming. It would have been

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The James Beard Foundation's Best of the Best: Mario Batali Bonus Material

The James Beard Foundation's Best of the Best

In spring of 2012, the James Beard Foundation will publish The James Beard Foundation's Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America's Outstanding Chefs. This must-have cookbook will feature a delicious, signature recipe from every winner of the Foundation's Outstanding Chef Award, from Wolfgang Puck to Tom Colicchio. When we went to press, space required that we omit some surplus essays and recipes. During the weeks leading up to the book's release, we'll be sharing this bonus content with our readers. Think of it as an appetizer. This first installment spotlights Mario Batali, who won the JBF Outstanding Chef Award in 2005. Read on to learn about his favorite spot for a family escape and his charity work. 

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For someone enthralled by his

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Ask the Winners: How Do You Celebrate?

Now that our 25th anniversary has arrived, we're in a celebratory mood, so we got in touch with some of last year's JBF Award winners to find out how they like to celebrate special occasions.

“Dan Barber catered our wedding, so my husband and I like to celebrate our anniversary at Blue Hill—and sometimes Dan will serve us a dish or two from the wedding menu. It’s always amazing how flavors can bring back memories so crisply.”
Amanda Hesser, author of the 2011 JBF Award–winning book The Essential New York Times Cookbook

“How do I celebrate? With dessert of course! No major occasion, holiday, or milestone is complete without it. The pleasure of cutting into a beautiful cake or taking a sweet-smelling pie out of the oven for friends and family always makes the moment feel festive and special.”
Gail Simmons, Judge on the 2011 JBF Award–winning show Top Chef; and host of Top Chef: Just Desserts

“For about a month I celebrated the Beard win with Champagne toasts, home-cooked meals, and afternoo

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JBF's 25th Anniversary: How We Are Celebrating

JBF
On November 5, 1986, the James Beard Foundation officially opened the James Beard House to provide a center for the culinary arts. We’ll be celebrating our silver anniversary throughout the upcoming year in a number of ways, including the publication of The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs, a keepsake book featuring insightful chef profiles, original photography, and more than 60 recipes from JBF Outstanding Chef Award winners like Wolfgang Puck and Tom Colicchio. You can preorder your own copy here.

We’re also hard at work planning a unique series of anniversary dinners featuring America’s greatest chefs, including many of the culinary masters featured in Best of the Best. Make sure to check

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JBF Partners with the Children's Museum of Manhattan

CMOM

As part of its EatSleepPlay™ initiative, the Children's Museum of Manhattan has teamed up with JBF to produce the James Beard Foundation Family Chef Series, which include healthy-cooking demonstrations by popular chefs that provide families with fun ways to prepare simple recipes with fresh and affordable ingredients. Each session includes a demonstration, recipe tastings, and a question-and-answer period; the partnership's larger goal is to raise awareness of childhood obesity, which fits into the EatSleepPlay™ drive toward healthier lifestyles among kids. Bill Telepan and Alex Guarnaschelli (

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Greenhouse Gallery: The Vanishing Feast

Bounty Located in the Beard House's reception space where guests mingle and meet before meals, the Greenhouse Gallery exhibits the works of up-and-coming and established artists who work with culinary themes. For the next two months, visitors can view works by painter Cheryl Greisbach. An award-winning artist, Griesbach received her degree at New York City’s School of Visual Art, and has been on its faculty since 1985. Her oil paintings, which are influenced by European botanicals, Dutch Golden Age still lifes, and the Hudson River School, depict exotic birds, landscapes, and flora, recapturing what Griesbach describes as a vanishing world of natural beauty. Learn more about Greisbach's show.

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