Stories / Awards

Our 2021 Celebration Shines a Spotlight on the Restaurant Industry

JBF Editors

July 28, 2021


Graphic of the words James Beard Awards in black and white, flipping to the words Stories of Resilience and Leadership in blue, pink, orange, and purple

Today we announced that our 2021 celebration, James Beard Awards: Stories of Resilience and Leadership, will be a salute to the independent restaurant community, showcasing some of the organizations, leaders, and businesses that have made a significant impact in the industry and their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The show will highlight inspiring stories of passion, community, innovation, resilience, and leadership under extreme hardships during the pandemic. Those being featured are representative of so many in the industry who played and continue to play a part in supporting their communities and the industry. The live broadcast can be viewed via Twitter on September 27 at 7 P.M. CT / 8 P.M. ET / 5 P.M. PT.

In addition to the live broadcast, the Foundation will host 300-400 guests atop the Harris Theater in Chicago to enjoy delicious bites while watching the broadcast. Simultaneously, intimate satellite events in select cities across the country will be hosted to tune in to the broadcast, including:

  • Houston at Lucille’s with Chris Williams, Dawn Burrell, and local host Houston First Corporation
  • San Francisco Bay Area at the Oakland Museum of California’s Town Fare by Tanya Holland, hosted by JBF Awards Committee Chair and board member, Tanya Holland, and featuring chefs Reem Assil of Reem’s California and Dominica Rice-Cisneros of Bombera
  • Philadelphia at SOUTH with Ben Bynum, Stephanie Willis, and local host Visit Philadelphia
  • Washington, D.C. at Moon Rabbit with Kevin Tien

On the night of the event, viewers will be encouraged to host their own watch parties while enjoying bites and other goodies featured in a special Awards party kit edition featuring appetizers from four of our recent James Beard House Fellows, a program that re-envisions the historic James Beard House into a hub of training and professional development for talented emerging chefs. The special party kit will be available for sale in early September, and will be presented by Capital One with special gifts for cardholders.

Additionally, select industry and other guests will enjoy dinners at five restaurants that represent Chicago’s vast culinary landscape, including:

  • avec with Dylan Patel
  • HaiSous with Thai and Danielle Dang
  • Mi Tocaya with Diana Dávila
  • Tzuco with Carlos Gaytán
  • Virtue with Erick Williams

The Foundation recognizes the leadership role that it plays in the restaurant industry through the James Beard Awards and other programs. As was announced in August 2020, the James Beard Awards are undergoing an audit of policies and procedures in order to ensure a more transparent and equitable process for the future. The areas of focus are a code of ethics, composition of voting body and the creation of an Awards mission that supports and is aligned with the Foundation’s values.

The audit will be completed later this summer and a final report will be available on The first post-audit James Beard Awards will take place in 2022.

“We look forward to getting together—both virtually and in-person—with the help of our host city of Chicago and culinary hubs across the country,” says Dawn Padmore, vice president of the James Beard Awards, “to acknowledge some of the incredible leaders who have been so dedicated and integral in helping our industry and their communities throughout this past devastating year.”  

Through the James Beard Foundation’s Open for Good campaign, the organization is working to provide critical resources to help the independent restaurant industry survive the COVID-19 crisis and come back stronger, more equitable, and more resilient. Learn more about the Foundation’s Open for Good campaign.

Stay tuned to our social channels and for the latest updates.

Read the full press release.