It was ladies night at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards in New York City last night. According to Eater.com's Paula Forbes, women chefs made up 28 percent of the 2014 finalist list this year — the most since 2012 — and that appeared to work in their favor, with female chefs scoring six big wins.
McCrady's and Husk Chef Sean Brock lost Outstanding Chef to Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles. Silverton is only the fourth woman to get the honor since it began in 1991, according to ABC News.
Barbara Lynch of Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Boston, took the prize for Outstanding Restaurateur. Regular Charleston Wine + Food Festival visitor April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig took home Best Chef: New York City, Naomi Pomeroy of Beast in Portland, Ore., nabbed Best Chef: Northwest, and another local fave, Ashley Christensen of Poole's Downtown Diner in Raleigh, received Best Chef: Southeast.
As the food-fiends blew up Twitter with #jbfa tweets
, many commented that the "ladies first" theme was a direct response to Time
magazine's male-dominated Nov. 18 issue the Gods of Food
wherein no female chefs made the "gods" list. Whether it's true that not a single female chef belongs in the pantheon of current culinary greats is arguable — we think it's completely bogus — you can bet the subject will be the catalyst for a dozen or so op-eds in the upcoming week.
We can't forget to mention that frequent City Paper
contributor Jeff Allen and our staff photographer Jonathan Boncek (in addition to Andrew Cebulka, Allston McCrady, and Susan Puckett) were nominated for the journalism awards on Friday night for visual storytelling work they did with The Local Palate
. They lost to Food & Wine
magazine, but Boncek tells us he considers it a win just to have been nominated.
As for our other hometown nominee, FIG, they also lost Outstanding Wine Program to The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn.
So no James Beard awards for Charleston this year.
However, City Paper
is happy to report that our W+F Festival Waffle House Smackdown winner Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston, Texas, won Best: Chef Southwest. Clearly his lessons in scattered, smothered, and covered had something to do with it. You're welcome, Chris.