Congratulations to the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award Winners
By Francine Cohen

Photo by Krishna Dayanidhi

While the outside world may view the James Beard Awards as the food industry’s Oscars or Emmys, those in the know who spent the night catching up with dressed up chefs, sommeliers, and restaurateurs affectionately refer to this annual event as the chef prom. And prom-like it is, with everyone in their finery and the king and queen (aka best chefs and best restaurants) crowned for all to celebrate as the dance party goes into the wee hours.

Here are this year’s winners. You may not know them all, but you should. They’re easy to spot – just look for the big bronze medal hanging off a striking yellow ribbon around their neck.

Highlights from this year’s list of winners include:

Outstanding Chef: José Andrés (minibar, Washington, D.C.)

Outstanding Restaurant: Eleven Madison Park (NYC, Owner: Danny Meyer)

Rising Star Chef: Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon, Portland, OR)

Best New Restaurant: ABC Kitchen (NYC, Chef/Owner: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Owner: Phil Suarez)

In addition, special achievement award honorees included:

Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America: Jonathan Gold (Writer, LA Weekly, Los Angeles); Lee Jones (Farmer/ Owner, Chef’s Garden, Huron, OH); Charles Phan (Chef/Owner, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA); Frank Stitt (Chef/Owner, Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL); Nick Valenti (CEO, Patina Restaurant Group, New York, NY)

America’s Classics: Chef Vola’s (Owners: Louise Esposito, Michael Esposito, Michael Esposito, Jr., Louis Esposito, Atlantic City, NJ); Crook’s Corner (Owner: Gene Hamer, Chapel Hill, NC); Noriega Restaurant and Hotel (Owners: Linda Elizalde McCoy and Rochelle Ladd, Bakersfield, CA); Le Veau d’Or (Owner: Robert Tréboux, New York, NY); Watt’s Tea Shop (President and CEO: Sam Watts, Milwaukee, WI)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Kevin Zraly (Wine Educator and Author, Windows on the World Complete Wine Course)

Humanitarian of the Year: FareStart (Founder: David Lee)

2011 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef AwardsBest New Restaurant
Presented by Mercedes-Benz
A restaurant opened in 2010 that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service and is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

ABC Kitchen
Chef/Owner: Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Owner: Phil Suarez

Outstanding Chef Award
A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Candidates must have been working as chefs for at least the past 5 years.

José Andrés
Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Pastry Chef Award
A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads and who serves as a national standard-bearer for excellence. Candidates must have been pastry chefs or bakers for at least the past 5 years.

Angela Pinkerton
Eleven Madison Park

Outstanding Restaurant Award
A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard-bearer for consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Candidates must have been in operation for at least 10 or more consecutive years.

Eleven Madison Park
Owner: Danny Meyer

Outstanding Restaurateur Award
A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Candidates must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past 10 years.

Richard Melman
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Outstanding Service Award
Presented By Stella Artois
A restaurant that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service. Candidates must have been in operation for at least the past 5 years.

Per Se
Chef/Owner: Thomas Keller

Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional Award
Presented by Southern Wine & Spirits of New York
A winemaker, brewer, or spirits professional who has had a significant impact on the wine and spirits industry nationwide. Candidates must have been in the profession for at least 5 years.

Julian P. Van Winkle, III
Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
Louisville, KY

Outstanding Wine Service Award
A restaurant that displays and encourages excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, a knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine. Candidates must have been in operation for at least 5 years.

The Modern
Wine Director: Belinda Chang

Rising Star Chef of the Year Award
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Gabriel Rucker
Le Pigeon
Portland, OR

Best Chefs in America
Presented by Groupon
Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Each candidate may be employed by any kind of dining establishment and must have been a working chef for at least the past 5 years. The 3 most recent years must have been spent in the region where the chef is presently working.

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

Alex Young
Zingerman’s Roadhouse
Ann Arbor, MI

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

Michael Solomonov

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)

Isaac Becker
112 Eatery

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)

Gabrielle Hamilton

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT)

Tony Maws
Craigie On Main
Cambridge, MA

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)

Andy Ricker
Pok Pok
Portland, OR

Best Chef: Pacific (CA, HI)

Michael Tusk
San Francisco

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS)

Stephen Stryjewski
New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)

Andrea Reusing
Chapel Hill, NC

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT)

Saipin Chutima
Lotus of Siam
Las Vegas

Tyson Cole
Austin, TX

2011 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees

Jonathan Gold
Writer, LA Weekly
Los Angeles

Lee Jones
Farmer/ Owner, Chef’s Garden
Huron, OH

Charles Phan
Chef/Owner, The Slanted Door
San Francisco

Frank Stitt
Chef/Owner, Highlands Bar and Grill
Birmingham, AL

Nick Valenti
CEO, Patina Restaurant Group

2011 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Awards
Presented by The Coca-Cola Company
Restaurants with timeless appeal, beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Establishments must have been in existence at least 10 years and be locally owned.

Chef Vola’s
111 South Albion Place, Atlantic City, NJ
Owners: Louise Esposito, Michael Esposito, Michael Esposito Jr., Louis Esposito

Crook’s Corner
610 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC
Owner: Gene Hamer

Noriega Restaurant and Hotel
525 Sumner St., Bakersfield, CA
Owners: Linda Elizalde McCoy and Rochelle Ladd

Le Veau d’Or
129 East 60th Street, NYC
Owner: Robert Tréboux

Watts Tea Shop
761 N. Jefferson Street, Milwaukee
President and CEO: Sam Watts

2011 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

Kevin Zraly

2011 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year


2011 James Beard Foundation Book Awards
Presented by Green & Black’s® Organic Chocolate

Cookbook Hall of Fame

On Food and Cooking: The Science & Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee

Cookbook of the Year

Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy
by Diana Kennedy
(University of Texas Press)

American Cooking

Pig: King of the Southern Table
by James Villas
(John Wiley & Sons)

Baking and Dessert

Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours
by Kim Boyce
(Stewart, Tabori & Chang)


Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World’s Top Wine Professionals
by Jordan Mackay and Rajat Parr
(Ten Speed Press)

Cooking from a Professional Point of View

Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine
by René Redzepi
(Phaidon Press)

General Cooking

The Essential New York Times Cook Book: Classic Recipes for a New Century
by Amanda Hesser
(W.W. Norton & Company)

Healthy Focus

The Simple Art of EatingWell Cookbook
by Jessie Price & the EatingWell Test Kitchen
(The Countryman Press)


Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories
by Grace Young
(Simon & Schuster)


Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine
Photographer: Ditte Isager
(Phaidon Press)

Reference and Scholarship

Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes
by Mark Bitterman
(Ten Speed Press)

Single Subject

Meat: A Kitchen Education
by James Peterson
(Ten Speed Press)

Writing and Literature

Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food
by Paul Greenberg
(The Penguin Press)

2011 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards
Presented by Lenox Tableware and Gifts

For television, webcast, and radio programs aired in 2010
Winners will be announced on May 6, 2011

Audio Webcast or Radio Show

CBC Ideas: “Pasta: The Long and Short of It”
Host: Megan Williams
Area: Canada and Online
Producers: Susan Mahoney and Megan Williams

TV Food Personality/Host

Alton Brown
Show: Good Eats
Network: Food Network

Television Program, In Studio or Fixed Location

Top Chef: Season 7
Host: Padma Lakshmi
Network: Bravo
Producers: Tom Colicchio, Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, and Dave Serwatka

Television Program, On Location

Avec Eric
Host: Eric Ripert
Network: PBS, Online
Producers: Justin Barocas, Heather Brown, and Geoffrey Drummond

Television Segment

60 Minutes: “Chef José Andrés”
Host: Anderson Cooper
Network: CBS
Producers: Bill Owens and Kara Vaccaro

Television Special/Documentary

Milk War
Host: Colm Feore
Network: ichannel
Producers: Declan O’Driscoll and Kevin O’Keefe

Video Webcast

Hosts: Eric Anderson, Brian Clark, and Jay Selman
Producers: Mark Ryan and Jay Selman

2011 James Beard Foundation Design and Graphics Awards

Outstanding Restaurant Design
For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2008

Design Firm: Aidlin Darling Design
Designers: Joshua Aidlin, Roslyn Cole, and David Darling
Project: Bar Agricole, San Francisco

Outstanding Restaurant Graphics
For the best restaurant graphics executed in North America since January 1, 2008

Design Firm: Love and War
Designer: Katie Tully
Project: The National Bar & Dining Rooms, NYC

2011 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards

Publication of the Year Award

Edible Communities

Cooking, Recipes, or Instruction

Amy Thielen
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A Good Catch,” “Low-Tech Wonder,” “From the Bean Patch: Plenty”

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award

Patric Kuh
Los Angeles
“Animal Magnetism,” “Making Their Move,” “Time for a Redo?”

Environment, Food Politics, and Policy

Carl Safina
“Sea Change”

Food Culture and Travel

Rick Bragg, Francine Maroukian, and Robb Walsh
Garden & Gun
“The Southerner’s Guide to Oysters”

Food-related Columns and Commentary

Tim Carman
Washington City Paper
“Ignore the Pizza Police,” “Supply and Da Men,” “Schmeer Campaign”

Food-related Feature

Dan Koeppel
“Fruit of the Future”

Food Section of a General Interest Publication

San Francisco Chronicle
Jon Bonné and Miriam Morgan

Group Food Blog

Grub Street New York
Daniel Maurer, Jenny Miller, and Alan Sytsma

Health and Nutrition

Rachael Moeller Gorman
“Captain of the Happier Meal”


Ruth Bourdain

Individual Food Blog

Politics of the Plate
Barry Estabrook

M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award

Jonathan Gold
LA Weekly
“A Movable Beast”

Multimedia Food Feature

Michael Gebert and Julia Thiel
The Chicago Reader
Key Ingredient: “Kluwak Kupas,” “Chinese Black Beans,” “Geraniums”

Personal Essay

Tom Junod
“My Mom Couldn’t Cook”


Benjamin Wallace
New York
“The Restaurant Auteur”

Wine and Spirits

Jon Fine
Food & Wine
“Natural Wine: Weird or Wonderful?”