A few new faces, plus plenty of familiar ones, stepped onto the stage at New York City's Lincoln Center last month to collect the industry's most prestigious honor — the James Beard Foundation Awards.
The Outstanding Chef Award went to Tom Colicchio, Top Chef TV host and proprietor of the Craft family of restaurants. Unlike most chefs at his level, Colicchio has recently strayed away from empire-building and gone back into the kitchen at his new Colicchio and Sons restaurant in New York City. Reviews of his work there have ranged from the rhapsodic (three stars from the New York Times) to the decidedly less so, but give the guy credit: He's putting it on the line at a stage of his career when most people don't.
Also still in the fray is Keith McNally, honored with the Outstanding Restaurateur Award. He just opened his eighth New York City restaurant, Pulino's. Also in expansion mode is Outstanding Restaurant Award winner Daniel Boulud, honored for his New York flagship Daniel. Boulud just opened a London outpost of his Bar Boulud concept this week.
Other honors went to chef/partner Michael White and partner Chris Cannon for New York City's Marea, named as Best New Restaurant. Nicole Plue from Redd in Yountville, CA, took home the Outstanding Pastry Chef award. The Outstanding Wine Service award was shared by Jean Georges in New York and Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco.
The Rising Star Chef of the Year award went to Tim Hollingsworth. He's chef de cuisine at Thomas Keller's The French Laundry in Yountville, CA, making him perhaps the first Beard Rising Star winner to be honored while cooking another chef's menu.
Regional Best Chef in America awards went to:
Best Chef — Great Lakes: Koren Grieveson, Avec, Chicago.
Best Chef — Mid-Atlantic: Jeff Michaud, Osteria, Philadelphia.
Best Chef — Midwest: Alexander Roberts, Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis.
Best Chef — New York City: Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park.
Best Chef — Northeast: Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, Arrows, Ogunquit, ME.
Best Chef — Northwest: Jason Wilson, Crush, Seattle.
Best Chef — Pacific: David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA.
Best Chef — South: Michael Schwartz, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami.
Best Chef — Southeast: Sean Brock, McCrady's, Charleston, SC.
* Best Chef — Southwest, Claude Le Tohic, Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas.
Inducted into the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America during the awards ceremony were Leah Chase, chef/owner of Dooky Chase Restaurant, New Orleans; food author and historian Jessica Harris, New York City; Paul C. P. McIlhenny, president/c.e.o. of Tabasco producer McIlhenny Company, Avery Island, LA; restaurant designer deluxe David Rockwell, founder and c.e.o. of the Rockwell Group, New York City; Culinary Institute of America president L. Timothy Ryan, Hyde Park, NY; and Susan Spicer, chef/owner Bayona, New Orleans.