James Beard Awards and the Local Links
May 9, 2012
Last month Nancy Oakes, chef of the newly minted Outstanding Restaurant of the Year (Boulevard), was cooking on the Monterey Peninsula as part of Pebble Beach Food & Wine's Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner. (She did lobster ravioli and roasted California squab with smoked mushroom risotto and bacon.)
Brophy's Chef Brian Christensen cooked in the James Beard Kitchen just a couple of weeks ago, and top-five finisher for Best Service Rick Bayless of Frontera fame will be here in a week and a half as part of Cooking for Solutions, joined by dozens more James Beard-caliber chefs.
There are a number of local tie-ins between the most prestigious culinary awards in the universe and Monterey County - but unfortunately they don't include Restaurant 1833 claiming Best New Restaurant. But at least they qualified for the finals.
Here's a peek at some of the other winners.
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Christina Tosi
Tosi is the protege of David Chang of Momofuku Group is known for the unorthodox ingredients she uses to craft incredibly unique sweets behind the restaurants Milk Bar.
Outstanding Chef Award: Daniel Humm
The Swiss native and head chef at Eleven Madison Park in New York which has recently received four stars from the New York Times and three Michelin stars. The classically trained French cuisine Humm creates has become a boon for a restaurant already steeped in culinary accomplishments.
Best New Restaurant: Next
Owned by avant-garde restaurateur Grant Achatz, this Chicago spot surprises as much with its food as with its dining experience. You don't get a reservation for Next, you buy tickets.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Wolfgang Puck
No surprise here, the man is a legend. The Austrian-born chef and restaurateur has spent the last 30 years building 20 restaurants and, more importantly, a reputation for being one of the most ingenious and well-respected food phenoms in the industry.