JBF IS DINING
JBF Event FAQs
- What types of events does the Beard House host? How often?
- Beard House events include dinners, lunches, brunches, workshops, readings, and education events. Each year we have more than 250 events, which break down to four to six dinners each week; occasional lunches, brunches, and cocktail parties; and one or two daytime readings each month as part of our Beard on Books and Enlightened Eaters series. Other events are sometimes scheduled around this core calendar. See what’s happening this month.
- Why is the summer schedule different?
- Many people leave New York City on the weekends, so we're closed on those days during the summer months.
- What happens at a typical Beard House event?
- A typical event at the Beard House includes a reception featuring passed hors d’oeuvre and wine or cocktail pairings, followed by a seated meal which includes five courses (four for lunches/brunches) and wine pairings for each course. You also have the unique opportunity to meet the chefs and ask questions about the dishes you’ve eaten. Our occasional cocktail parties are walk-around events that highlight popular chefs and exciting themes.
- Is there a menu? Can I choose what I eat?
- The menu for each Beard House event is set by the chef months in advance and publicized along with the event. Occasionally, due to the seasonal availability of ingredients, the menu is slightly different on the night of the event. There is one set menu for the evening and the event is served in courses to all guests. There is no special ordering.
- What if I’m a vegetarian or have special dietary needs?
- Because the Beard House receives a different guest chef every night and does not operate like a typical restaurant, it is very difficult for chefs to accommodate special needs. There is no pantry of ingredients to draw on and deviating from the set, published menu is difficult. If a special request is made at the time of booking a reservation, it can be conveyed to the chef, who may or may not be able to accommodate it. Special requests made on the night of the event will certainly be entertained but there is no guarantee they can be fulfilled.
- When can I make reservations?
- That depends on your membership level. Fellow-level members and the levels above them are given three months advance notice of upcoming events. Other members receive notification up to 60 days prior. The complete calendar is posted on our website for all to see one month in advance, and offers online booking through OpenTable. You can also call our reservations department directly at 212.627.2308.
- Can I just show up at the door?
- No, all events must be booked and paid for in advance. The exceptions are general admission events like Beard on Books and Enlightened Eaters, our reading series, for which a donation is suggested.
- Do I get to choose my seat? My dining companions?
- Not exactly. The configuration of tables at the Beard House is pretty much fixed so we can’t really manipulate the seating. Part of the fun of the experience of dining at the Beard House is getting to meet interesting people who share a passion for food. That said; we always try to honor special requests for parties to sit together or to have a large group occupy a specific table. Such requests should be made at the time the reservation has been made. Seating changes are very difficult to accommodate on the day of the event.
- How are the prices for events determined?
- For the most part our prices are set depending on the type of the event: lunch, dinner, or cocktail party. As most of our events serve two functions, programming and fundraising, we are always trying to find the perfect balance between making them accessible to as many people as possible and raising money to cover costs and contribute to our operating budget for our other programs.
- Do I have to tip? Is there tax?
- Tipping at the Beard Foundation is not allowed. Unlike for-profit restaurants, our waitstaff are paid as regular employees and are entitled to benefits. There is no tax on James Beard Foundation events.
- Are the event charges tax deductible?
- That depends. The law states that anything above the fair market value of an event for a charitable nonprofit is tax deductible. Because most of our Beard House events are priced at or below their fair market value—were you to go to a restaurant in Manhattan and order a similar amount of great food and wine you would pay a lot more money for it—the event charges are generally not tax deductible. Occasionally, when we plan fundraisers or special high-ticket events, a portion of the price may be tax deductible. In these cases we make the amounts that are tax deductible known and will issue letters for all tax-deductible amounts over $250 upon request as required by law.
PARTICIPATING IN BEARD HOUSE EVENT
- How does someone get invited to participate in a Beard House event?
- The programming department receives inquiries and recommendations from various sources: working chefs and restaurateurs, winemakers, cookbook authors, publicists, members of the Foundation, staff members, JBF trustees, and members of the volunteer-staffed programming committee. In addition, the director of house programming actively seeks noteworthy talent as evidenced by press reviews and positive word of mouth.
- What is the programming committee? Who is on it?
- The programming committee and its chairman meet monthly to recommend chefs and events to the director of house programming. The committee is made up of a group of food and wine professionals and gastronomic enthusiasts who volunteer their time to the Foundation. Their participation broadens the field of qualifying chefs, provides perspective from outside of the Foundation, and brings various areas of expertise and knowledge to the chef selection process. The director of house programming retains the final decision in extending invitations and scheduling events.
- Are events at the Beard House related to the James Beard Foundation Awards?
- No. Events at the James Beard House are independent of the Beard Awards, though we are honored to welcome award winners to perform at the house from time to time for various events.
- Do chefs get press coverage for participating in a Beard House event?
- The James Beard Foundation welcomes the media at our events, but the responsibility of inviting the press and purchasing seats for them is solely the responsibility of the participating chef/restaurant.
- Do chefs and restaurants have to be members of the James Beard Foundation to be invited to cook at the Beard House?
- No. Chefs and restaurants are considered based on their merit, their menu, and their ability to execute a banquet dinner for up to 80 guests. Once a chef, winemaker, or guest speaker is invited to participate in a Beard House event he/she will receive a complimentary Food and Beverage Professional-level membership to the James Beard Foundation for one year.
- How far in advance are events scheduled?
- Typically, six months to a year in advance.
- If I'm not currently employed in a restaurant or food-related business, can I still participate in an event at the Beard House?
- Participating in an event at the Beard House is costly for both the chef and the James Beard Foundation. Generally, chefs need the physical and financial support of a restaurant and its staff to help with the preparation and execution of their event, but we are happy to consider unique situations when they arise.
- What are the costs associated with presenting a meal at the Beard House?
- Chefs and other participants cover the cost of travel to New York City, accommodations, as well as food and beverage costs associated with the event. The James Beard Foundation covers the cost of staffing (waiters, stewards, and kitchen managers), linen, rentals, and marketing the event directly to its membership and the general public through electronic and printed publications. The Foundation also provides participating chefs with a portion of the event’s proceeds to help offset food costs.
- Can a Beard House event be sponsored?
- Yes, events can be sponsored at the Foundation’s discretion and for a negotiated sponsorship fee. For more information, please email the director of house programming. Chefs and restaurants are encouraged to seek sponsorship directly to help offset the costs of their event, but the notice of that sponsorship will be limited to the event itself. No logos or other company information will appear in our publications or on our website.
- Can more than one chef or restaurant participate in a Beard House event?
- Yes. Group events create a unique experience and help to spread the cost of doing the event across the participants. Smaller restaurants often team up with others to offset the costs of coming to the Beard House.
- If the chefs and other participants mostly pay their own way to the Beard House, where does the money from reservations go?
- The costs to the Foundation associated with producing each event and maintaining the Beard House are covered by the price of each event. Those costs include publications, waitstaff, linens, upkeep, administrative staff, cleaning staff, chef reimbursement, and other expenses related to the event itself. What’s left goes to the general operating and programming budgets of the Foundation. You can view our most current audited financial statements here.
- I am scheduled to participate in an event at the Beard House. Where can I find out what I need to do? What equipment you’ve got on hand? How it all works?
- Participating chefs all receive a comprehensive chef information packet in the mail, but the information is also available here.
- Do all James Beard Foundation events take place at the Beard House?
- No. Although we host over 250 events a year at the Beard House, the Foundation also hosts events in other venues in the New York City area and across the country, including Chefs & Champagne® New York, our annual Gala Dinner & Auction, and Friends of James Beard Benefit® dinners. Occasionally we even host events in other countries. We refer to events not held in the Beard House as out-of-house events.
- Do I need to be a member to attend the James Beard Foundation’s out-of-house events?
- No. Most Foundation events are open to the general public, although there is usually a discounted price for members.
- How do I make reservations for out-of-house events?
- That depends on the event. The main reservations line for the James Beard Foundation is 212.627.2308. Some reservations for out-of-house events are handled through this line, but others are handled by the host venue. Every time you see information about an event, we will give you the appropriate number to call or website to visit for reservations. And you can always call our main reservations line for the correct information.
- How can my company become involved with your special events?
- For organizations or companies looking to promote themselves by associating with our events, there are a number of different opportunities. For example, organizations can become cash sponsors, donate products, contribute to our auctions, become gift bag underwriters, and/or purchase VIP tables. Our sponsorship department can tailor an attractive promotion/association program to suit your organization’s needs. For more information, please call 212.627.2090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- Where does the money raised at special events go?
- As with all of our events and fundraising, the proceeds from out-of-house events go to the Foundation’s general operating fund, scholarships, or to cover the costs of other specified programs.
- What are Friends of James Beard Benefits?
- Friends of James Beard Benefits are fundraising dinners hosted by restaurants and hotels around the county. They are usually initiated by the hosting restaurants, who invite a group of guest chefs to participate. We refer to them as FOJBBs.
- How are the funds raised at Friends of James Beard Benefits used by the Foundation?
- Friends of James Beard Benefits have a minimum fundraising requirement. Half of the funds raised at all FOJBBs are allocated to culinary scholarships awarded in the name of the donor chef or restaurant. The remaining funds are used to support the operations of the James Beard Foundation, including the administration of our educational programs.
- How much time is needed to plan a Friends of James Beard Benefit?
- We recommend that you start the planning process at least six months before the event. The James Beard Foundation starts to publicize and promote the event three months in advance.
- Who attends Friends of James Beard Benefits?
- Anyone who enjoys a great food and wine experience is welcome, whether or not they are James Beard Foundation members. Reservations are usually taken by the host restaurant; this information will be posted everywhere the event is promoted. Find out if there is a Friends of James Beard Benefit happening near you.
- Can I receive guidelines for hosting a Friends of James Beard Benefit?
- For a complete list of guidelines, contact Diane Harris Brown at 212.627.1128 or via email.
- What is Serving Up James Beard?
- Serving Up James Beard is a restaurant promotion benefiting JBF's Silver Anniversary Scholarship Drive. Participating restaurants across the country feature one James Beard-inspired dish on their menus; one dollar of each dish sold is donated to the drive. Learn more about Serving Up James Beard.
- What are Greens events?
- The James Beard Foundation’s Greens events are geared to foodies ages 21 to 39 and held at the Beard House and different venues around New York City. Greens events are open to members and non-members alike. The idea is to bring young people who share an interest in food and wine together to experience, learn, and have fun. Though Greens is not a membership category, James Beard Foundation members receive member discounts to Greens events and we strongly encourage all Greens attendees to become members of the Foundation. Check out upcoming Greens events here.
- How do I receive information about Greens events?
- All communication about Greens events is conducted via email. Sign up to receive email invitations and other information about Greens here.
- What do I do if I am 40 or over?
- The James Beard Foundation offers exciting events for food lovers of all ages. View a calendar of upcoming events here.
- How do I make a reservation for a James Beard Foundation event?
- Reservations can be made by calling 212.627.2308, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. All reservations are prepaid, so please have your credit card on hand. You will also need to provide a phone number. You must speak to a reservations department representative to consider your reservation confirmed. (Messages left on our voicemail system do not count as reservations.) As a courtesy, your reservation will be reconfirmed two to three business days before the event. View our full reservations policy.
- When will my credit card be charged?
- Expect a charge to appear during the month of your event. Most charges are processed within the week of the reserved event. Since all events are prepaid, please contact us if the card used to make your reservation has been lost or stolen before the charge appears on your bill, or if you would like to use an alternate card.
- Are receipts available?
- Yes. To expedite this process, please provide your email address, mailing address, and fax number at the time you make your reservation. Receipts requested after an event will be generated by our accounting department.
- Is the cost of my reservation tax deductible?
- Most Beard House events are priced at or below market value, and are therefore not tax deductible. Exceptions occur with higher priced fundraising events, for which any amount above the fair market value of the event can be deducted. When the tax-deductible amount exceeds $250, tax letters will be sent as required by law.
- What is your cancelation policy?
- Our cancelation policy and fees are as follows: a fee of $5 per person is charged if a cancelation is made more than seven days before an event and a fee of $20 per person is charged if a cancellation is made seven days to 24 hours before an event. No refunds are offered for cancelations made within 24 hours of an event or for no-shows. Cancelations left on our voice mail will not be honored. Reservations made for the Peter Kump Boardroom, our private dining facility, are non-refundable.
- How is the seating arranged for events at the Beard House?
- The Beard House seats a maximum of 80 guests and our tables seat between 4 and 12 guests. Due to the layout of our dining rooms, you may be seated with other parties. If friends are booking reservations separately, please be sure to indicate to the reservations department representative that you wish to be seated together.
- How large of a party may be booked at the Beard House?
- Reservations are accepted for up to 20 guests in one party, and while a party that large cannot be seated together at the same table, we will arrange to have everyone seated at nearby tables. To assist in the process, it helps to send a list of names of the people who should be seated together to the reservations department at the time you make your reservation. For an additional fee, our private dining room is available for parties of up to 12 guests.
- Is a private dining room available at the Beard House?
- The Peter Kump Boardroom is available for most events at the Beard House. The private room seats 12 guests with options for AV equipment, privately held reception hours, and more. Contact the reservations department for more information at 212.627.2308 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What is the dress code for events at the Beard House?
- There is no official dress code for events at the Beard House; however, we do recommend business professional or cocktail attire. Events at the Beard House celebrate the chef, and respectful dress contributes to the ambience.
- Is there a choice of dishes at Beard House events?
- No. Everything listed on the chef’s menu is served to each guest. Visit the events section of our site to view the most up-to-date menus.
- Can you accommodate food allergies/dietary restrictions?
- Chefs who visit the Beard House create distinct tasting menus that highlight their skills and cuisine. We ask that you carefully consider any allergies or dietary restrictions before booking; however, both the chefs and the James Beard Foundation understand that these limitations should not hinder anyone’s dining experience. Upon reserving, please alert the reservations department to these issues. Event managers will discuss with the chef what items to avoid or what accommodations, if any, can be made. If arrangements cannot be made, our reservations staff will gladly steer you towards a different event with a more suitable menu.
- When do Beard House events start? How long do they last?
- Dinners begin at 7:00 P.M., lunches and brunches at 12:00 noon, and cocktail parties at varying times. Our literary series Beard on Books and Enlightened Eaters start at 12:00 noon and last one hour. Dining events at the Beard House generally last 2 to 3 hours.
- Is there a reduced price available for guests who do not drink alcohol?
- Unfortunately, the James Beard Foundation is not able to offer a reduced price for guests who do not drink alcohol.
- Are children allowed to attend the events at the Beard House?
- The attendance of small children is discouraged both for their safety and for the comfort of other diners. We do not have special children’s menus, beverages, or prices.
- The event I am interested in is sold out, what should I do?
- If you wish to attend an event that is sold out, the reservations department will be happy to add you to a waiting list. Cancelations frequently occur and you will be notified but not obligated to make the reservation if seats become available.
- How do I find out about upcoming scheduled events at the Beard House?
- Become a member! Fellow-level members and above receive notifications of events three months in advance in our monthly digital publication, Previews. Menus and more detailed event information are available online about one month before the events, but events may sell out before this online posting.
- Is parking available near the Beard House?
- Yes. Chivian Garage has an exclusive partnership with the James Beard Foundation. The garage is located at 101 West 12th Street, at the corner of 6th Avenue, and has a $7 parking fee from 6:30 P.M. with validation from the Beard House maitre’d. For SUVs and cars 181” or longer the fee is $17.
- Is the James Beard House available for private events?
- Yes. The Beard House can be rented for events, pending availability. Please contact membership services for more details at 212.675.4984 or via email.
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