Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Room’

ANNOUNCING THE 2014 JAMES BEARD AWARDS SEMI-FINALISTS

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

JamesBeard Award Medallion

Before spring officially kicks in the annual food & drink rite of passage begins; a close read of the names of anointed hospitality industry leaders who are fortunate and skilled and lauded and connected enough to have their names land on the semi-finalists’ list for this year’s James Beard Awards. And then the ensuing chatter about whether those nominees are deserving and who was “robbed.”

They say, it’s an honor just to be nominated, and that’s true. In our book, everyone who makes a difference in the lives of restaurant, bar and hotel guests every day is a winner, but for now, let’s just see who the James Beard Foundation (www.jamesbeard.org) might be handing an award to on May 5th where the theme for the 2014 Awards is “Sounds of the City.”

This year’s theme explores the enduring relationship between music and food, celebrating the many ways in which the culinary community is inspired by music and the artists who create it. Music has continually played an important role in the culinary world, from inspiring chefs in the kitchen to setting the tone in a dining room and everything in between. A surprising number of chefs have crossed over from the world of music to food and even more continue to express themselves as musicians in their downtime. From Nashville to New Orleans, Detroit to Seattle, this year’s gala reception will feature chefs from some of America’s beloved musical cities creating dishes inspired by their favorite sounds, whether it’s a local musical act, special song, or impactful musician.

There’s no doubt that being nominated for a James Beard Award has an impact on careers. The James Beard Foundation holds an online open call for entries beginning in mid-October of each year. According to sources at the Foundation this year, over 38,000 entries were received, a list which the Restaurant and Chef Committee goes through to determine eligibility and regional representation. Based on the results and eligibility requirements for each award, the committee then produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 20 Restaurant and Chef awards categories, some of which include Outstanding Chef (Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters), Outstanding Restaurant, Best Chef in ten different U.S. regions, Rising Star Chef of the Year, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional, Outstanding Bar Program, and Best New Restaurant.

The list of semifinalist nominees is then sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners, votes on specific award categories to determine

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HEALTHY NEW YEAR

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

How 15 DC chefs and bartenders battled the bulge and made the world a healthier place
By Francine Cohen

Beet radish

Just as ubiquitous as the seasonal songs you hear in every holiday commercial this time of year is the rush for predictions, charitable donations, and resolutions that will surely make your world, and the world, a better place in the new year. 2014 will be no different.

There will always be plenty of ways that you, as hospitality industry leaders, will be asked to give. And let’s be honest, it gets a bit redundant. But it doesn’t have to be the same old same old. You probably feel like Chef RJ Cooper (www.rogue24.com) does as he remarks, “The dine around pass food over a table formula is tired, old and just cramped. A new concept of making mobile kitchens in venues so chefs can cook for 3 tables of 10 etc. would be much more fun.”

No reason you can’t have fun while doing good. Maybe this is the year it happens and you’ll be inspired to take a page out of the book of some Washington, DC based chefs and bartenders who found fun and healthy living through charity work in 2013. Last year, while supporting the American Cancer Society by co-chairing the Society’s annual signature culinary, wine and spirits event, Taste of Hope (www.tasteofhopedc.org), the Restaurateur/chef Mike Isabella (www.graffiatodc.com) rallied 15 Washington, D.C. chefs and mixologists for the inaugural Fit for Hope weight loss challenge.

The 12-week challenge kicked off on June 24th and culminated on September 24th at Taste of Hope. According to the Society, the latest recommendations for adults call for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week.

Faced with an invitation to support a new (to DC) charity event they turned what could have been just another “let me show up and park myself behind a white tablecloth draped 6 ft. long table and hand out food and drink while smiling and promoting my restaurant/bar” experience into something much more personally meaningful- for them and the charity they supported. While dropping pounds, each participating chef and mixologist was also charged with raising a minimum $2,500 during the 12 weeks and many turned to

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