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DonRocks

And The Winner Of The 2005 James Beard Award

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...you'll just have to check back at this site after the awards are announced this evening for breaking news - my spies have this one well-covered.

Good luck to Todd Gray, Mark Furstenberg, Fabio Trabocchi, Frank Ruta and Marc Vetri (Philadelphia).

See you back here tonight,

Rocks.

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...you'll just have to check back at this site after the awards are announced this evening for breaking news - my spies have this one well-covered.

Good luck to Todd Gray, Mark Furstenberg, Fabio Trabocchi, Frank Ruta and Marc Vetri (Philadelphia). 

See you back here tonight,

Rocks.

Better yet, let's all wait for the announcement at our favorite place and show support for whom we want to win. I'll be at Palena.

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The award goes to Marc Vetri from Philadelphia. Congratulations!

Smart money might have bet on this, as four-out-of-five nominees were from DC, and the non-DC-based voting contingent may have been centered on the only non-DC-based nominee.

Regardless, a hearty congratulations to Marc Vetri, and a well-deserved congratulations to Fabio Trabocchi, Todd Gray, Mark Furstenberg and Frank Ruta for having been nominated.

Kinkead's (with sommelier Michael Flynn) was also a nominee for a national Best Wine Service award which went to Veritas in New York City.

Reporting from Baghdad,

Rocks.

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Without wanting to sound like you-know-who, how many times is Fabio going to have to be nominated before his number comes up?

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Without wanting to sound like you-know-who, how many times is Fabio going to have to be nominated before his number comes up?

remember Todd Gray has been nominated five years running, and it took Roberto six or seven before he won...

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Oh, burned...

Alright, maybe not 'burned'. Sure Philly chef deserved it and all. Still burned, though.

We now return you to The New York City Show, already in progress.

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I think it's all bullshit. One chef in PH gets nominated and draws all the PH attention and a bunch of DC chefs get nominated and get diluted. There is something wrong with this system. Perhaps next year all the DC nominees could get together and play "rock, paper, scissors" and the winner gets all the DC votes.

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From the press release this evening:

WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR 2005 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARDS

Mario Batali Named All-Clad Cookware Outstanding Chef

Galatoire’s, Named S.Pellegrino Outstanding Restaurant

Rick Stein’s Complete Seafood Named KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year

New York, May 2, 2005 – Winners were announced for the 2005 James Beard Foundation Awards tonight at a ceremony held at the New York Marriott Marquis.  The awards, now in their 15th year, recognize excellence and achievement in the culinary profession. More than 60 awards were presented, and more than 1700 industry leaders attended the ceremony, which was followed by a “Chefs Tribute to Julia Child” reception featuring more than two dozen leading chefs from around the U.S.

“The significance of The James Beard Foundation Awards is that nominees and winners are selected by their peers,” said Dorothy Cann Hamilton, President of The James Beard Foundation.  “To win a James Beard Foundation Award is the highest honor in the industry a culinary professional can achieve.” Ms. Hamilton noted that trustees and staff of The James Beard Foundation do not vote. The James Beard Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering the practice and appreciation of the culinary arts.

The James Beard Foundation Awards recipients are selected by more than 600 food and beverage industry professionals who vote by confidential ballot in one or more award categories depending on their expertise.  The independent accounting firm, Lutz and Carr, tabulates ballots. Award winners receive a bronze medallion engraved with the image of James Beard, the late journalist, cookbook author, chef and cooking teacher.   A full listing of awards results, photos and winners’ speeches from the ceremony can be found on www.jamesbeard.org. 

Here is a summary of awards highlights:

KitchenAid Cookbook Awards

The Foundation presented awards in 15 categories for food and beverage books published in 2004.

KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year went to Rick Stein’s Complete Seafood  (Ten Speed Press) by Rick Stein.

The KitchenAid Cookbook Hall of Fame, for a cookbook in publication for at least 10 years that has made significant and lasting impact, was presented to The Great Scandinavian Baking Book (University of Minnesota Press) by Beatrice Ojakangas.

Chef/Restaurant Awards

New Orleans’ Galatoire’s, which is celebrating its centennial this year, was named S.Pellegrino Outstanding Restaurant. Mario Batali (chef and co-owner of Babbo, Esca, Lupa, Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, Casa Mono and Bistro du Vent restaurants, New York City) was named All-Clad Cookware Outstanding Chef.  New York City's Per Se received the illy Best New Restaurant Award. Danny Meyer owner of The Union Square Hospitality group (including Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, 11 Madison Park, Tabla and The Modern) was named Waterford Wedgwood Outstanding Restaurateur.

Christopher Lee (Striped Bass, Philadelphia) was named Gallo of Sonoma Rising Star Chef of the Year. Karen DeMasco (Craft, New York City) was named All-Clad Bakeware Outstanding Pastry Chef. Spago Beverly Hills (California) received the Smithfield Foods Outstanding Service Award.  Veritas (New York City) received the Waterford Outstanding Wine Service Award. Joseph Bastianich (owner of Italian Wine Merchants and restaurants Babbo, Esca, Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, Casa Mono and Bistro du Vent, New York City) was named Ecolab Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional.

The American Express Best Chefs in America, awarded to recipients in eight regions, went to: California, Lee Hefter (Spago Beverly Hills, CA); Midatlantic, Marc Vetri (Vetri, Philadelphia); Midwest, Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Chicago); New York City, Andrew Carmellini (Café Boulud); Northeast, Ana Sortun (Oleana, Cambridge, MA); Northwest/Hawaii, Vitaly Paley (Paley’s Place Bistro & Bar, Portland, OR); Southeast, Joël Antunes (Joël, Atlanta); and, Southwest, Mark Kiffin (The Compound, Santa Fe, NM).

Judy Wicks, founder of The White Dog Café and president of The White Dog Café Foundation, both in Philadelphia, received The Williams-Sonoma James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award for her efforts to support local family farmers, independent community-based businesses and community arts.

Four restaurants were named Southern Wines & Spirits of New York America’s Classics, presented to locally owned and operated restaurants renowned for their timeless appeal and quality food. They include: Yuca’s (Los Angeles, CA); Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe (Boston); El Chorro Lodge (Paradise Valley, AZ); and Willie Mae’s Scotch House (New Orleans).

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With Vetri getting the best Mid-Atlantic award and Christopher Lee at Striped Bass getting rising star chef, it's a pretty big deal for Philly, which has had a criminally underappreciated dining scene up to this point.

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Dear Criminally Underappreciated Dining Scene of Philly,

Congradulations!

Love,

The Criminally Underappreciated Dining Scene of DC

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This has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with reality.

I cannot agree more, who are the people voting anyway, I guess I should know but what's the criteria for selection? The nominations run from a long list to a short list and I believe that previous winners in all categories make up the "academy" that votes, but reallly have they all been to these places. The restaurant industry is very insular we all know each other relatively well here in town, but outside of DC how much do we know about one another? It seems like it woiuld be too difficult for all voters to get to all the nominees, it's not the oscars where a voter gerts a bunch of DVD's, tasting menus don't travel by mail. I was defintely pulling for my old boss and have eaten at Vetri's place, but reallly how many voters were able to hit Equinox, Maestro, Palena, Vetri's and Breadline in the time available, answer:none.

The Beard award is a nice recognition for accomplishments in the industry, but how many people are voting for chefs who have cachet, or someone they heard about from their line cook who ate their food. Secondary sources are great for discovering restaurants, but not for choosing a "winner".

Politics it is....

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I can only comment on the places I've been, but a few things stood out to me.

I love Babbo and try to go there whenever I'm in New York, but it is a surprise to me that Batali would be named the "All-Clad Cookware Outstanding Chef" this year. At a time when he is being accused of being stretched too thin. Not that he hasn't been deserving of the award in the past.

Even though there have been some recent rumblings about Per Se not being as consistent as it should or could be, I can't imagine a more mortal lock for the "illy Best New Restaurant Award".

Between Batali, Bastianich and Meyer (the winners of the three big National awards) don't they own or run about two thrids of New York's restaurants? That's not exactly spreading the wealth around.

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Just for reference, the "Best Chef" award went to Mario Batali whose name is now on, what, seven restaurants? And the "Best Restaurateur" award went to Danny Meyer whose name is on some similar amount. These numbers are deemed to be correct as of this writing, May 4th, 2005, but may change in the near future.

Some of these jetsetting entrepreneurs want to still be considered by the general public as tortured craftsmen, as shouting, sweaty cooks with burnmarks on their hands, but they're no longer acting in that capacity. There's absolutely nothing wrong with leaving your establishment to become a businessman - by all means enjoy your wealth, enjoy your fame, but at that point, don't delude yourself into thinking you're anything but a businessman. And please, spare us the images of getting up at 5 AM to spend a morning mushroom hunting when in fact you have a conference call with your publicity agent at 9.

Untitled (inspired by a visit to Zaytinya)

Tonight it began at the end, and ended at the beginning.

And when it had ended, one question remained:

At what point does the soul of the chef depart from the body, swept down into the green rush of current while struggling to look back over his shoulder, trying desperately to twist and turn and right himself and paddle upstream, seeing the rapidly fading party of skeletons behind him, sitting around the bar, smiling and laughing, clanking their glasses, not even knowing they’re at his funeral, not even knowing they’re mourning his loss, not even hearing over

their own merriment the

vanishing cries of

the soul that is

being swept

away.

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