Contact Information

Please visit our contact page for general event, press, and sponsorship contact information.

Awards Process General Information

When are the Open Calls for Entry and Recommendations, and how do I enter?

The Open Calls for Entry and Recommendations open in early October and the period closes in late November. Visit the Awards landing page for specific dates.

Click here to enter the Awards during the open call period.


What is the Open Call for Entry versus Open Call for Recommendations?

The Open Calls are solicitations for applications or recommendations for the five Awards programs.

  • The Open Call for Entry is for the Media Awards: Book, Broadcast Media, and Journalism Awards programs, where candidates enter their work. There is a $85 fee to enter the Media Awards. The James Beard Foundation is committed to making the application process accessible for all. Fee waivers can be requested if the $85 entry fee presents hardship. Applications will not be penalized if this option is selected.
  • The Open Call for Recommendations are for both the Leadership and Restaurant and Chef Awards programs, and anyone may enter candidates for consideration. The voting body will also make recommendations. There is no entry fee for the two programs.


Who is the voting body?

The Awards Committee, subcommittees and judges comprise the voting body.


Who can enter?

The Awards are open to any and all entrants who meet the qualifications of each program. The James Beard Awards committee and subcommittee members acknowledge and welcome entries and entrants from all backgrounds who represent the true diversity of talent that exists in the culinary and food media landscape.


How do I know if I'm eligible? 

We receive thousands of entries from across the United States (and beyond, for certain Award programs). The eligibility requirements are different for each Awards program. Please review the programs’ eligibility criteria and a list of categories for the current Awards cycle found on the policies page.


What do James Beard Foundation Award winners receive?

Winners receive a medallion, a certificate reflecting the winning entrant, and recognition on the James Beard website. The Humanitarian of the Year honoree also receives a $20,000 prize to further the honoree’s work, kindly funded by the Michael Phillips Humanitarian Fund.

All Awards program semifinalists, nominees, and winners must comply with the James Beard Awards usage marks and guidelines.


How does the James Beard Awards define Excellence and Leadership?
  • Excellence: the intersection of exceptional talent and achievement in one’s craft.
  • Leadership: Those with exceptional talent, who have set a positive example through their work and who are leading American food culture forward on or off the plate—for example, through a dedicated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive. 


What is the Impact Statement?

The James Beard Awards honor those who are creating exceptional food, food media content and better food systems while demonstrating a commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive. 

As part of all Awards applications, we require a short statement, written (150-300 words) or recorded (audio or video, 1-2 minutes) by the entrant or recommender.  

This “Impact Statement” (formerly known as the “Alignment Statement”) should describe how the candidate’s work aligns with the Foundation’s values: equity, transparency, respect, integrity, and community. 

This is our chance to learn a little more about the candidate and their work. The statements should be written in the first-person (when composed by the entrants themselves) and use clear, pertinent examples whenever possible.

The statement will be reviewed for content and not for language fluency, video quality, or production value. It does not need to be long. It is not a writing or video contest.

Detailed instructions are offered in the Open Call for Entry/Recommendations online forms. Please visit our policy page where you will find links to Criteria and Eligibility documents for each program.


What is the vetting and ethics process?

For information about our Code of Ethics, policy, and process, please click here.


Can you win a James Beard Foundation Award if you haven’t participated in a James Beard Foundation event?

Yes. Every step is taken to ensure that the Awards are open to all eligible candidates and administered fairly. James Beard Foundation staff members are not allowed to vote on the Awards. Trustees do not vote, except in limited circumstances, such as Achievement Awards, where the Trustee is a member of the Awards Committee, as per the Awards Charter. And although we are extremely grateful to everyone who participates in our events, those events are in no way related to the Awards process.


Is there anything an entrant can do to increase their chances of winning?

Besides performing to the best of their abilities, and demonstrating alignment to the Foundation’s values, there's nothing an entrant can do to affect the outcome of an Award. Our Awards are voted on by committee members and judges; number of recommendations entered does not influence the results. Participating in a James Beard Foundation program and/or supporting the Foundation in any way has no bearing on Awards considerations.


Are James Beard Foundation Trustees eligible for an Award?

No. James Beard Foundation Trustees are not eligible to win a James Beard Foundation Award (nor can they influence the voting in any way). Trustees must sign a conflict-of-interest statement that affirms that they or their relatives, or any business in which they are a majority partner will not be eligible for an Award. 


Are James Beard Foundation staff eligible for an Award?

No. As with the Trustees, all management and staff sign a conflict-of-interest statement that affirms that they or their relatives, or any business in which they are a majority partner will not be eligible for an Award. The James Beard Foundation Staff, including the Awards Team, does not vote, vet, or influence any outcomes of the Awards.


Can sponsors affect the outcome?

No. Sponsors do not take part in judging or determining any Awards policies.


Is the Foundation’s public relations firm subject to any Awards restrictions?

Yes. Wagstaff Media & Marketing employees who provide services to the Foundation may not assist candidates or entrants in creating, advising on, reviewing or submitting any entries, applications or other materials required for Awards consideration. However, Wagstaff employees who do not provide services to the Foundation may assist their clients with drafting applications. Where a Wagstaff employee has provided services to the Foundation and a potential Awards candidate or entrant, such employee will re-assign their non-Foundation client work to another Wagstaff team member.


Who gets to see the results of the Awards?

The Foundation engages an independent accounting firm to tally votes. With the exception of committee-chosen Awards, no one sees the results except for an external fact checker, third-party vetting consultant, and a very limited number of personnel related strictly to the production of the Awards a limited number of days before the ceremony. All are required to sign an NDA.


How are the Awards financed?

The Awards are a program of the James Beard Foundation, which means the trustees of the Foundation have overall fiduciary responsibility for them. Sponsorship, entry fees, Awards ceremony ticket sales, and advertising sales are intended to cover the cost of the Awards program, which includes fees for the independent auditors, administrative costs for the Awards program, and the ceremony and auxiliary event production costs. Net revenues from the Awards go towards funding the Foundation’s portfolio of programs and initiatives that support the industry.


James Beard Awards 2021 Audit Recommendations

The James Beard Foundation announced in August 2020 that the James Beard Awards were undergoing an audit of policies and procedures. The audit took place between August 2020 and August 2021. The audit outcomes were announced in September 2021. To read more about the audit, goals, recommendations, and initial outcomes as of 2022, visit here.


How will JBF address allegations against future potential winners, and will JBF rescind previous winners’ awards if allegations have been made against them?

For information on the James Beard Awards Code of Ethics and the Ethics process, please visit the
Awards Code of Ethics page.


Historical Information

What are the James Beard Awards?

The James Beard Awards recognizes exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive. Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards are among the nation’s most prestigious honors recognizing leaders in the culinary and food media industries. The Awards are overseen by the Awards Committee. Each Awards program (Books, Broadcast Media, Journalism, Leadership, and Restaurant and Chef) has its own subcommittee members who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective program. All James Beard Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia.


When did the James Beard Awards start?

The James Beard Awards were established in 1990; the first ceremony took place in 1991.


Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America

The Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America was started in 1984 by Cook’s Magazine and Restaurant Business. The James Beard Foundation took them into the fold in 1990. In light of new directives for inclusion and diversity, in 2018 the Who’s Who award was retired. Extant members at that time were memorialized and archived on the James Beard Foundation website.


Restaurant Design Awards

The first Restaurant Design Awards were given out in 1995 as an Awards program with categories such as Outstanding Restaurant Design and Design Icon. The program was retired after the 2020 Award


Awards Event General Information

What are the plans for the 2024 Awards Ceremonies?

All three Awards ceremonies will occur the first weekend in June in Chicago and the dates are below. Event details and location information will be updated on the Awards events page when that information is available. News about the Awards will be regularly updated and posted to and on the Foundation’s social channels (@beardfoundation on Instagram and Twitter/X using the hashtag #jbfa).

  • Media Awards: June 8, 2024
  • Leadership Awards: June 9, 2024
  • Restaurant and Chef Awards: June 10, 2024
Where can I find information on the Awards event and the broadcast?

Visit the Awards events page for relevant event details, including broadcast information, and to sign up for the Awards newsletter for updates.

 I'm a journalist who wants to cover the James Beard Awards. Who should I contact?

For press-related inquiries, please visit the Awards contact page.

Can I volunteer at the Awards?

If you’re interested in becoming an event volunteer, please complete the following form.


Please sign up for our newsletter for upcoming updates on the Awards, events, and programming.

Have more questions about the James Beard Awards? Contact our team at

James Beard Foundation reserves the right to update and make changes that do not affect the integrity of the Awards and its operating procedures.