FIG Executive Chef Jason Stanhope wins James Beard's Best Chef: Southeast

"In the words of Sean Brock, 'Holy shit!'"

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Jason Stanhope is the latest Charleston chef to take home a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast - SCREENSHOT
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  • Jason Stanhope is the latest Charleston chef to take home a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast
So much for baseball. "Eating well has become the national pastime," Susan Ungaro, the James Beard Foundation President said tonight kicking off the Oscars of the food world — the 2015 James Beard foundation. 

We tuned in for the James Beard livestream to see if Charleston nominees — FIG and McCrady's for Oustanding Wine Program, FIG Executive Chef Jason Stanhope for Best Chef: Southeast, and McCrady's, Husk, and Minero's Chef Sean Brock for Outstanding Chef — would take home a medal. Here are the results:

FIG and McCrady's lost out to San Francisco's A16 for Outstanding Wine Program.
But Stanhope now joins the super exclusive crew of Brock, Mike Lata (FIG and The Ordinary's chef/co-owner), and Robert Stehling (Hominy Grill's chef/owner) as one of Charleston's fraternity of Best Chef: Southeast winners. Stanhope beat out John Fleer (Rhubarb, Asheville, NC); Edward Lee (610 Magnolia, Louisville, KY); Steven Satterfield (Miller Union, Atlanta); Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman (Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis); and Tandy Wilson (City House, Nashville).

The win marks Stanhope's first James Beard award and he took the honor in stride with his eloquent opening line, "In the words of Sean Brock, 'Holy shit!'"

Stanhope continued, "My mom's going to be using this award as leverage to get into all of your establishments, so treat her like a queen." The executive chef of FIG thanked his bosses, Lata and FIG and The Ordinary co-owner Adam Nemirow saying, "They have empowered me to adopt their philosophies, technical cuisine, unpretentious service, taught me to hire people that are better than I am, and have armed me with the tools to lead them. Thank you guys." It was easily the best speech of the night.

Halfway through the night the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America were acknowledged and that included Charleston's own Nathalie Dupree. A brief video showcased Dupree's time as the host of 300 PBS cooking episodes as well as her prolific writing career as author of 14 cookbooks. Dupree's Who's Who award joins her three previous James Beard awards.

After four hours of watching the Alton Brown hosted show, the last James Beard award was finally handed out at 10:42 p.m.: Outstanding Chef. After being nominated three times for the title, Brock lost yet again to Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern. But, lest we forget, Brock is still a 2015 winner. His cookbook Heritage won the Foundation's American Cooking prize last week. And what more reason could he need to pour some Pappy and party?

For the full list of winners, click here.

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