Here's a look at the headliners who will be manning the podiums at the Beard Award ceremonies on May 2 and May 5. Don't forget: you can watch a live stream of Monday's ceremony here.
Master of Ceremonies and JBF Award Winner Ted Allen
Host of Food Network's Chopped and America's Best Cook
James Beard Award winner Ted Allen is host of the hit series Chopped on Food Network, as well as a frequent contributor to the network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate series. He was a judge on the first four seasons of Bravo’s Top Chef and Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and was the food and wine specialist on the groundbreaking Bravo series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He is the author of In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks as well as The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes. He also co-wrote the New York Times best-seller Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab Five’s Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better, and Living Better.
Since 1997 Allen has been a contributing editor to Esquire magazine, where he writes about food, wine, style, and everything else the American man needs to know about. Allen was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for his Esquire feature on the little-known phenomenon of male breast cancer. He also writes for such publications as Bon Appétit, Epicurious, and Food Network Magazine. Before joining Esquire, Ted was a senior editor and restaurant critic at Chicago magazine.
Gala Chef Chair and JBF Award Winner Mario Batali
Mario Batali counts 26 restaurants, nine cookbooks, numerous television shows, and two Eataly marketplaces among his ever-expanding empire of deliciousness. This past winter, the multiple Beard Award winner (who took home the coveted Outstanding Chef award in 2005) opened Eataly Chicago, the second U.S. outpost of the hugely successful artisanal food and wine marketplace. Batali and business partner Joe Bastianich also recently opened their fourth restaurant in Las Vegas, B&B Burger & Beer in the Venetian Hotel & Casino.
Batali’s cookbooks include the Beard Award–winning Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes, the New York Times best-seller Mario Batali Italian Grill, and Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours.
For their dad’s 50th birthday, Mario’s sons Benno and Leo compiled a cookbook of the recipes they make as a family during their summers in northern Michigan. In May 2013 the boys brought their tome to the masses with The Batali Brothers Cookbook.
Mario appears daily on The Chew, a daytime talk show on ABC that celebrates and explores life through food.
Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards Dinner Hosts Mat Lee and Ted Lee
Siblings Matt Lee and Ted Lee grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. When they left to attend colleges in the Northeast, they so missed the foods of their hometown that they founded The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order source for Southern pantry staples including, of course, boiled peanuts. When an editor of a travel magazine asked them to write a story about road-tripping their home state in search of great food, they embarked on a second career as food journalists and cookbook authors. Their first two books, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook and The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern, have won a combined five James Beard and IACP Awards. Their third cookbook, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, released in March 2013, was nominated for a 2014 IACP Award for Best American Cookbook. Ted lives with his wife, the artist E.V. Day, in Brooklyn, New York; Matt, his wife, Gia, and their two sons live in Charleston.