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Overheard at the 2015 James Beard Awards

Anya Hoffman

May 05, 2015

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Last night's Beard Awards featured many memorable moments—Alton Brown's meat melody, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller's improv bit, and Steve from Sex and the City's announcement that the winner of the Outstanding Wine Program award was the entire city of San Francisco—but the theme of the evening was definitely family: the ones at home as well as the families we create in the restaurant trenches. Here are some of the night's most quotable lines:

"Thank your wife. Thank your wife. Thank your wife."

–Gerard Craft of Niche, Best Chef: Midwest

"I'm sorry it took me so long, I'm not used to wearing a dress. That's why I became a chef."

–Jessica Largey of Manresa, Rising Star Chef of the Year

"Vegans try to tempt me with their pie. Well they can keep their seitan and tofu. Because I'll devour bacon till I'm blue. The meat goes on."

–Alton Brown, master of ceremonies

“My wish for all of you is…to take in the moment and stop and smell the mirepoix.”

–Barry Maiden of Hungry Mother, Best Chef: Northeast

“Thank you to the city of New Orleans for embracing me. I’m an Israeli who grew up in Philly who’s cooking food in New Orleans and somehow that all comes together." 

–Alon Shaya of Domenica, Best Chef: South

“You can’t made a bad deal with a good person and you can’t make a good deal with a bad person.”

–Richard Melman, Lifetime Achievement Award winner

“On behalf of all the barbecue cooks before me and the ones to come: thank you.”

–Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, Best Chef: Southwest

“It’s terrific to be here and to see the Oscars of the food world. It’s probably the closest to any Oscar I’ll ever get.”

–David Eigenberg, actor

“I didn’t go to rehearsal, I was busy, I’m sorry.”

–Grant Achatz, after missing his cue

“This year’s Who’s Who in food: a list that doesn’t have me on it, but that’s okay.”

–Alton Brown, master of ceremonies

“No one person is bigger than the whole.”

–Donnie Madia of One Off Hospitality Group, Outstanding Restaurateur

“I’d like to thank my mom for introducing me to the canned chickpea.”

–Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Best Chef: NYC

"Michel is able to light a dark room. Where others see a problem he only sees opportunity.”

–José Andrés introducing Humanitarian of the Year Michel Nischan

“My friends and family are one, especially in this industry.”

–Christina Tosi of Momofuku, Outstanding Pastry Chef

“Have you ever heard Sean Brock talk about vegetables in a way that made you wish you were a carrot?"

–Michel Nischan, Humanitarian of the Year

“In the words of Sean Brock: holy shit.”

–Jason Stanhope of FIG, Best Chef: Southeast

Anya Hoffman is a freelance writer and contributing editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter.