The James Beard Awards are back in Chicago. After a weekend of honoring food media and industry leaders, the Restaurant Awards and Chef Awards will take place on Monday night.
The food team of the Chicago Tribune will also be on site to broadcast live as renowned chefs and restaurateurs from across the country gather at the Lyric Civic Opera Building for the awards ceremony. Follow them on Twitter and check here for live updates throughout the night. Scroll down to see the award livestream video.
Of the 10 Best New Restaurants Portland nominees, Oregon’s Kann won.
Other contenders included Chicago’s Obelix restaurant, Milwaukee’s Lupi & Iris, and Cincinnati’s Noria.
So Chicago ends the night with two Chef Awards and a Restaurant Award.
Maine restaurant The Quarry has won an Outstanding Hospitality Award for Chicago’s best sepia restaurant.
Opened in West Loop in 2007, Sepia is one of five shortlisted for the Outstanding Hospitality Award. Other contenders included Black His Cypress of Washington, Bottega of Alabama, and Lula Drake of South Carolina.
Midwest winners of Best Chef in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are Tim Flores and Jeanie Kwon of Kasama City.
“We have great team members. They are good people who want to take care of people. Thanks to them, everything is going well,” said Kwon, bursting into tears. She also extended her thanks to her husband and business partner, Mr. Flores, and their puppy Longanisa.
As for Flores, he said he didn’t expect the Filipino food he’d been eating since he was a little boy to lead him to where he is today.
“It’s insane to be recognized for cooking my mother’s food,” he said. “Until I opened the Kasama store, I never thought I would end up making Filipino cuisine.”
“It was a shocking moment for both of them,” he said.
“Just hearing our names read out was surreal. It was totally unimaginable,” Flores said. “We love our staff, so we’re celebrating with karaoke tomorrow.”
Past winners Sarah Gruneberg of Monteverde and Eric Williams of Virtue presented the award, which Flores said was a special honor.
“We are very lucky. I have looked up to them throughout my career,” Flores told the Tribune.
As usual, the stylish couple were matching, but Kwon joked that “matching clothes are getting harder and harder to find.”
And of what the award means for Kasama, Flores said, “It’s about growing as a team.” “It will help us in the future, move forward, and allow our team to continue doing what they love.”
Diana Davila of Mi Tokaya Antgería was also named Best Chef: Great Lakes Region, with Detroit’s Omar Anani (Saffron de Tuwa), Andy Holliday (Selden Standard) and Sarah Welch. Mr. Murrow was also selected.
Last year, Kasama was nominated for Best New Restaurant, but that award ultimately went to Minneapolis Indigenous-focused restaurant Owamuni.
Madison’s chefs Ital Nagano and Andrew Krueger have been awarded Restaurant “Fairchild” in the Best Chef: Midwest category, which includes restaurants in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. bottom.
Chef Natalia Vallejo is the first Puerto Rican chef to win a James Beard Award. The San Juan native of Cosina Al Fondo has been named Best Chef in the Southern Region, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico.
Vallejo was also the first Puerto Rican chef to be nominated for a Beard Award.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker made a surprise visit to the ceremony. He thanked the newly elected mayor of Chicago, along with the James Beard Foundation, Chu’s Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association.
He hailed Chicago as one of “the most vibrant, diverse and mouth-watering food cities in the world.”
Mayor Brandon Johnson also made a surprise visit.
“What about this wonderful moment?” he said. He praised the city’s five-star restaurants, as well as humble hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches.
“We have vegan beef sandwiches now,” he said.
Chicago chef Damar Brown snatched the first win for an up-and-coming chef of the night. Mr. Brown is a longtime culinary chef at Virtue in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Brown said, “To my team who stand by me every day, I wish you could have stood with me right now because we’re doing all of this together. because we have achieved it,” he said. “For the women who raised me, they were the first examples of kindness, generosity and patience. These are all virtues.”
Brown also nodded at the foundation’s changes and his longtime mentor Eric Williams of Virtue.
“I’ve always found it very difficult to do something without seeing someone who looks like me doing it,” Brown said. “So I want to thank Chef Eric Williams.
Backstage after receiving the award, Brown said that Virtue’s second straight year of outstanding performance with the Bears was “intention to spread kindness.”
“I think integrity is the key,” he said of what he’s learned in his 13 years working with Williams. “He was a great example not only of how to lead, but also of how to follow.
Brown said he plans to continue cooking in his Chicago kitchen for years to come.
“Definitely here in Chicago,” he said. “Chicago is my hometown.”
‘Top Chef’ judge and author Gail Simmons says her longtime reality show host has created a little ‘monster’ who loves to criticize rump butter and talk about its flavor profile. I started the show with a joke. She then thanked the people who grew, harvested and transported our food.
Tanya Holland, chef and chair of the James Beard Awards Committee, also spoke about the Foundation’s efforts to encourage change.
“It’s difficult and rare for people to reach the level of recognition that makes them a James Beard nominee,” Holland said. “We never have enough resources or support, especially if you are a person of color, especially if you are a woman.”
But the foundation is committed to making the industry more inclusive, she said.
“We learn as we learn,” Holland concluded. “It’s not always going well, but that doesn’t mean we’re not on the right track.”
Chicagoans join their contemporaries on the event’s red carpet as chefs, restaurateurs and other culinary heavyweights arrive at the Civic Opera Building.
Lamar Moore, who joined Bronzeville Winery in April as the new executive chef, said he was thrilled to support Damar Brown. Brown is the head chef at Virtue in the Hyde Park neighborhood and one of the nominees for tonight’s Emerging Chef Award.
When chef Eric Williams won the Great Lakes Best Chef award last year, Moore said of robbing Virtue of the win, “It’s hard to be nominated twice like this. It’s a problem,” he said. “I’m proud to be here for Chicago.”
Chicago natives D’Andre Carter and Soul & Smoke’s Heather Bublik, who attend the awards every year, felt the same way.
“Of course we would love to see Damar, Jeannie Kwon, Timothy Flores or Diana Davila win,” Carter said. “Basically anyone from Chicago. We’re here to support Chicago chefs.”
As for Davila, he said on Monday, “I’m thrilled to have the chance to win and bring it back for my team and Chicago.” “I met so many amazing people tonight and the world seems so small.”
And Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia said Bears, held on a busy weekend in the city, proved that Chicago is ready for an action-packed summer.
“We’re having a great weekend at the Taylor Swift and James Beard Awards. Hotels downtown are packed,” Toia said. “And this once again proves that we are the food capital of the United States.”
The awards ceremony will be held in Chicago through 2027.
Chicago enters Monday’s Restaurant and Chef Awards with one win already secured. Drinks journalist Emma Janzen and Violet Hour’s lead mixologist Toby Maloney spoke to media in the Beverage Books with Recipes category with The Bartender’s Manifesto: How to Think, Drink and Create Cocktails Like a Pro. Awarded.
This is the second time Janzen has won the Beard Award in several years, after winning in 2022 for Cocktail Road, which he co-wrote with Kumiko’s bar and creative director Julia Momose.
The James Beard Foundation will live stream the awards, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. You can watch it on YouTube or below.
In January, Smith, Kumai Cambodian Fine Dining and Wazwan were among 11 Chicagoland restaurants named semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Chef Awards.
Five of them became candidates as of the end of March.
Diana Davila of Mi Tokaya Antgería and Tim Flores and Jeannie Kwong of Kasama City were named Best Chef: Great Lakes Region. Detroit’s Omar Anani (Saffron de Twer), Andy Hollyday (Selden Standard) and Sarah Welch (Mallow) are also in the running.
Virtue Culinary Chef Damarr Brown is a nominee for the Emerging Chef category. Virtue continues to do well, with chef-owner Eric Williams winning the Great Lakes Award for Best Chef last year.
In the Best New Restaurant category, Chicago’s Obelix Restaurant will compete against nine other restaurants, including Cincinnati’s Noria and Milwaukee’s Lupi & Iris.
Opened in 2007 on the West Loop, Restaurant Sepia is one of five nominees for the Outstanding Hospitality Award.
The event was revived last year after the James Beard Foundation canceled the first two years of the awards during the pandemic, citing the lack of diversity in the 2020 nominees.
The foundation underwent an audit of its judging practices and promised to be fairer by returning the award in 2022.
The New York Times published last week a report on the foundation’s investigative process, which will be created in 2021 as part of those changes, as well as an ethics committee and hotline. At least one chef was disqualified from the investigation this year, according to The Times.
Details of the Tribune’s coverage of the Beard Awards finalists:
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