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Overheard at the 2016 James Beard Awards

JBF Editors

JBF Editors

May 03, 2016


Photo: Eliesa Johnson

Carla Hall moonwalked, there were backstage dance parties, adorable children accompanied a winner on stage, and Leah Chase charmed us all. And, as always, the acceptance speeches were heartfelt, humble, and hilarious. Here are some of our favorite lines from last night’s James Beard Awards. See the complete list of winners here


“I want to thank my parents —every year I’ve been nominated they think I’ve won, so this year I can finally tell them I did.”—Outstanding Baker Award Winner Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Café, Boston

“I didn’t think I was gonna win—I would have shaved.”—Best Chef: Northeast Winner, Zak Pelaccio, Fish & Game, Hudson, NY

“I had cookies from Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, and this is the body you get when you do that.”—Sunny Anderson, Presenter

“I’d like to thank all of America’s farmers that are showing us farm by farm that positive change can happen in our society.”—Best Chef: Midwest Winner Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis

“When you grow up in Nashville, you want to do something great, and as a kid you think that might happen to me. Maybe today’s my day.”—Best Chef: Southeast Winner Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville

“What you guys can’t see is that Carla’s having a dance party here in the backstage. Show us the moves!”—Who’s Who Inductee Marcus Samuelsson

“Hashtag yessssssss.”—Demian Repucci of Demian Repucci Design, Winner of Restaurant Design Award for Bruno, NYC

“Your kitchen is your canvas. Your plates are your artwork.”—Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

“I was always the bridesmaid, never the bride. And I think I was nominated for the oldest chef in America, not best chef New York!”—Best Chef: New York City Winner Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto

“I’m 93 years old, and this gives me courage to keep going for another ten to twelve more years.”—Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Leah Chase

“Who would have thought: hummus and New Orleans? It’s really easy for me to say, and Ms. Leah would agree, New Orleans is the best food city in the world right now.”—Alon Shaya of Best New Restaurant Winner Shaya, New Orleans

“One of the most important days in my career was the day I woke up and I realized that no matter what we do in the kitchen, it’s irrelevant if we don’t have a partner that we trust and believe in, and in Will [Guidara] I found that and a lot more.”—Daniel Humm of Outstanding Service Winner Eleven Madison Park, NYC

“I want to give a shoutout to my dad. He’s not here, and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t figured out the livestream, so he’ll never hear this.”—Will Guidara of Outstanding Service Winner Eleven Madison Park, NYC

“Can I just say hallelujah, thank god! I am so honored every time I’m nominated for this award.”—Outstanding Chef Winner Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles

“Homeboy Industries wants to be now what the world is called to be ultimately: a community of kinship against forgetting that we belong to each other.”—Humanitarian of the Year Winner Father Greg Boyle, Homeboy Industries

“I’m a twenty-one year overnight success.”—Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Winner Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM

“I feel like I should just walk away at this point.”—Grant Achatz of Outstanding Restaurant Winner Alinea, Chicago

Learn more about the 2016 James Beard Awards.