Highlights and Winners from the 2016 James Beard Awards in Chicago
Chefs took center stage Monday night to celebrate the 2016 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards, which are two years into a three-year stint at Chicago’s Lyric Opera. Hometown pride was on full display, with Chicago’s high-concept culinary temple Alinea taking home the Outstanding Restaurant award. Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped kick off the evening, kidding, “Chicago is known for cuisine and the way we count ballots, so you might as well all go home — we won.”
Set to a theme of TV dinners, the evening showcased the role of food in television, with sporadic clips of memorable food moments on shows such as I Love Lucy, Friends and The Brady Bunch, as well as vintage clips of real food TV moments with chefs including Julia Child and James Beard himself. Host Carla Hall joked that the organization could create its own TV food awards, perhaps named the Jammys, and decided that Dan Aykroyd’s French Chef SNL skit would win for best comedy series.
Food Network’s Aaron Sanchez, Amanda Freitag, Curtis Stone, Ming Tsai and Rachael Ray were all on hand to present awards and celebrate. Rachael presented the award for Rising Star Chef of the Year to Daniela Soto-Innes of New York’s hot Mexican restaurant Cosme.
And Soto-Innes was not the only woman to earn well-deserved recognition at the ceremony. The night became a celebration of women in restaurants, with Suzanne Goin of Los Angeles’ Lucques, AOC and Tavern nabbing Outstanding Chef; Joanne Chang winning Outstanding Baker for Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston (those sticky buns!); legendary Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans receiving the Lifetime Achievement award; Dahlia Narvaez nabbing Outstanding Pastry Chef for Osteria Mozza in LA; and Renee Erickson taking home Best Chef: Northwest for Seattle’s aptly named The Whale Wins.
After the ceremony, guests meandered the opera hall eating food created by last year’s winners and inspired by favorite shows. Dishes included Franklin Barbecue’s legendary brisket, inspired by the Flintstones, Jolly Green Giant-inspired asparagus with morels, courtesy of State Bird Provisions, and Del Posto’s tea sandwiches inspired by Downton Abbey.
The list of 2016 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award winners:
Best New Restaurant: Shaya, New Orleans
Outstanding Baker: Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Café, Boston
Outstanding Bar Program: Maison Premiere, Brooklyn
Outstanding Chef: Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Outstanding Restaurant: Alinea, Chicago
Outstanding Restaurateur: Ken Friedman, The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, Tosca Café, NYC
Outstanding Service: Eleven Madison Park, NYC
Outstanding Wine Program: Bern’s Steakhouse, Tampa
Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional: Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, N.M.
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Daniela Soto-Innes, Cosme, NYC
Best Chef: Great Lakes: Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic: Aaron Silverman, Rose’s Luxury, Washington D.C.
Best Chef: Midwest: Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
Best Chef: Northeast: Zak Pelaccio, Fish & Game, Hudson, N.Y.
Best Chef: Northwest: Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins, Seattle
Best Chef: NYC: Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto
Best Chef: South: Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans
Best Chef: Southeast: Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville
Best Chef: Southwest: Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston
Best Chef: West: Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal, Los Angeles
Restaurant Design, 75 Seats and Under: Tie: Bruno, NYC; Untitled, NYC
Restaurant Design, 76 Seats and Over: Cherry Circle Room, Chicago
2016 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics:
Al Ameer Restaurant, Dearborn, Mich.
Brooks’ House of BBQ, Oneonta, N.Y.
Bully’s Restaurant, Jackson, Miss.
Matt’s Place Drive-In, Butte, Mont.
Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante, Chimayo, N.M.
2016 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America:
Gina Gallo, winemaker, Sonoma, Calif.
Jim Lahey, baker and proprietor, NYC
Ed Levine, author and founder of Serious Eats, NYC
Dr. Temple Grandin, author and animal rights activist, Fort Collins, Colo.
Marcus Samuelsson, chef and restaurateur, NYC
2016 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year: Father Greg Boyle, Homeboy Industries, Los Angeles
2016 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award: Leah Chase, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, New Orleans
Find coverage of last week’s James Beard Broadcast, Book & Journalism Awards here.