The New York area is out front in several key categories for this year’s James Beard Awards – the last round before the finalists are named at the May 5th Gala at Lincoln Center.
Just like the Academy Awards where nominees extol the honor of just being recognized, so too, the cohort of culinary artists who remain aspirants can bask in the epicurean spotlight – for now.
There is a nice blend of new and established Gotham restaurants in contention.
For Best New Restaurant, Betony, Carbone and Estela are the holy trinity of New York hopefuls.
For the Outstanding Restaurant category – defined as those restaurants who have been open for 10 years or more - there are two New York dining establishments recognized: Hearth and WD-50. (See this Examiner’s previous review of this iconic, groundbreaking restaurant: http://www.examiner.com/review/wd-50-restaurant-serves-magic
Hearth is a perennial best – and we have enjoyed eating there, too.
Also in the running is Chicago’s Spiaggia.
The Second City offers a cornucopia of outstanding restaurants along with its architecture.
On many, many business trips, this Examiner has been privileged to enjoy the extraordinary restaurants and food this great city provides.
Further, it must be said that Spiaggia’s executive chef and partner, Tony Mantuano, is a devoted contributor to the annual US. Open http://www.examiner.com/article/us-open-culinary-grand-slam-food-takes-center-court
and the tennis cum food event’s burgeoning gourmand pedigree.
This Examiner notes Chef Tony Mantuano and his Spiaggia team are hard-working, more-than-a-celebrity-chef restaurant – and an honorary “Gothamite.”
Naming the Best Chef in New York is a fool’s errand.
Or – looked at another way – a culinary mission just this side of heaven…
The New York nominees now include April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig – Love this “#LeanIn power chef. (See This Examiner’s review of Bloomfield’s “Beard on Books” talk and cookbook http://www.examiner.com/review/chef-april-bloomfield-talks-cookbook-recipes-stories-at-beard-on-books)
Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen – a previous JBF Award Winner this Examiner reported on and captured on his first big win.
Chefs Michael White of Marea, Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto and Mark Ladner, Del Posto, top off the Best Chef category.
It needs to be noted that Waxman and Ladner were cited as mentors to several of this Examiner’s featured chefs in The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook – goo.gl/0Moqvo - notably Chef Claudia Fleming who worked for Waxman and Chef Adam Kopels, who worked for chef Ladner -- and Batali and now is co-chef and owner at 18 Bay on Shelter Island. http://18bayrestaurant.com
In the Outstanding Chef category, the quintessential chef, Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern is, no-doubt, in good company.
However to know chef Mike and his Gramercy Tavern team – is to love them, the menu, food, and service.
And Roberta’s floral compositions at the front Gramercy Tavern room will leave you woozy with garden floral magic...
All bets on chef Mike. One would be hard-pressed to name a more authentic, iconic, -- and nice – chef.
Still in the running for Best Chef Northeast is Chef Gerry Hayden, North Fork Table & Inn’s co-chef, along with his wife, Chef Claudia Fleming, and their partners, Mike and Mary Mraz.
Truth be told, Chef Gerry should’ve won previously– especially last year – so Homegrown fingers crossed for this food leader and truly Best Chef.
Hayden and the North Fork Table & Inn are featured in the Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook.
Chef Gerry’s food leadership, homegrown roots and culinary creations are respected and inspiring.
James Beard complete list of semi finalist nominees: http://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/complete-2014-jbf-award-nominees