Handicapping the Beard Award Nominees
The James Beard Award nominations were announced yesterday, and at Serious Eats we don't want you to have to sift through all nine pages of nominees [PDF], so let's see if we can cut to the chase for you.
The Outstanding Restaurateur nominees feature some actual and different heavyweight restaurateurs, including Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You, Chicago), Drew Nieporent (Nobu (NY), Rubicom (SF), and many others), and Keith McNally (Balthazar, Pastis, and Morandi, among others). All three of them have made a point of not cloning any of their restaurants, which I really appreciate.
The Best New Restaurant nominees feature three of my favorite cooks, including Donald Link (Cochon, in New Orleans), David Chang (Momofuku Ssam Bar), and Andrew Carmellini (A Voce in NYC). I'd be happy to have my last supper at any of those places.
The Rising Star Chef nominees include the very talented Graham Eliot Bowles (Avenues at the Peninsula Hotel, Chicago), Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, NYC), and the aforementioned Mr. Chang.
It is clear that David Chang is the It Boy of the culinary world these days, and deservedly so.
In the coming days, we Serious Eaters will delve into other categories and conduct our own straw polls on all the categories.