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Awards Process General Information
What are the James Beard Awards?
The James Beard Awards, aka the James Beard Foundation Awards or simply the Beard Awards, are the food industry’s highest honor. Time magazine called them “the Oscars of the food world.” Through the Awards we promote good food for good™ by recognizing those who are making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. Awards are given within six main categories: Restaurant and Chef, Book, Journalism, Broadcast Media, and Restaurant Design and Leadership.
Who are the judges?
The judges for the awards are all experts in their fields selected by the governing committee for each awards category. For example, the Book Awards Committee selects the judges for the Book Awards from a national pool of authors, editors, and other professionals in the publishing field who do not have books up for awards during they year that they are judging. The judges review the entries and vote with ballots. In the case of the Restaurant and Chef Awards, the voting body includes all past Restaurant and Chef winners. The ballots are then tallied by an independent accounting firm. Each Awards program has a slightly different judging system, click here to learn more.
We get thousands of entries from across the U.S.A., and for certain award programs, beyond. The eligibility requirements are different for each Awards program. Click here to find links to each program’s full criteria. Since 2019, awards the Foundation has instituted a period of free entry for those awards that have a fee (namely, Book, Journalism, Broadcast Media, and Design) to allow more access to the Awards.
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, and ticket and advertising sales are intended to cover the cost of the Awards program, which includes fees for the independent auditors, administrative costs for the judging, the costs for the production of the ceremony, and the costs associated with the reception. Additional funds raised from the Awards support the Foundation’s other programs.
How do I enter?
Click here to enter the awards. Further instructions and criteria can be found on the linked entry website.
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, and ticket and advertising sales are intended to cover the cost of the Awards program, which includes fees for the independent auditors, administrative costs for the judging, the costs for the production of the ceremony, and the costs associated with the reception. Additional funds raised from the Awards support the Foundation’s other programs. To learn more about our Impact Programs, click here.
Can you win a James Beard Foundation Award if you haven’t participated in a James Beard Foundation event?
Absolutely. 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, nor are trustees. And although we are extremely grateful to everyone who participates in our events, those events are in no way related to the awards process. Also, you do not need to be a James Beard Foundation member to receive a nomination or win an award.
Is there anything an entrant can do to increase his or her chances of winning?
Besides performing to the best of his or her abilities, there’s nothing anyone can do to affect the outcome of an award. We hear stories of people campaigning for various awards but our procedures are overseen by an independent accounting firm and are not susceptible to outside influence.
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 statement of conflict of interest that affirms that they or their relatives will not be eligible for an award.
What about staff?
No way. As with the trustees, all management and staff sign a conflict of interest statement that affirms that they or their relatives will not be eligible for an award.
Can sponsors affect the outcome?
Absolutely not. Sponsors do not take part in judging or determine any Awards policies.
What do James Beard Foundation Award winners receive?
Bragging rights, a handsome medal, an impressive certificate, a lot of publicity, and the satisfaction of having been recognized by your peers. In 2019, Leadership Award honorees will receive a $10,000 prize that can be donated to a nonprofit organization of their choice. No other James Beard Awards carry cash prizes.
Gala Awards General Information
Where will the 2020 Awards be live-streamed?
The Awards ceremony will be live streamed on the James Beard Foundation's Twitter. Tune into the live broadcast on September 25, 2020 by visiting twitter.com/beardfoundation.
I'm a journalist who wants to cover the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards. Who should I contact?
For press-related inquiries, please email JBFA@magrinopr.com.