This Cookbook Was A Double-Winner At The 2022 James Beard Awards

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The James Beard Awards have long been considered the pinnacle of culinary achievement; they are seen as the "Oscars" of the food world. But like the Academy Awards, the people behind the James Beard Awards have come under scrutiny over the last few years over their failure to be more inclusive, per Eater

So when the awards were suspended in 2021, ostensibly because of the COVID-19 pandemic — but also because, as Forbes pointed out, the awards had come under fire over allegations of bias and a lack of diversity — organizers said that they would use the time to audit themselves, to look at how the awards were given out and ensure "a more transparent, accessible, and equitable process for future James Beard Awards," per the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education.

And perhaps because of this moment of reflection, something happened when the James Beard Foundation announced its nominees for the 2022 awards. The winners of the Media Awards, which includes categories for books, journalism, and broadcast media, were named on Saturday, June 11.

And the winner for 'Baking and Desserts' is...

If the James Beard judges wanted to showcase women in cooking in 2022, they nailed it in the category of "Baking and Desserts," as the work of three women were presented as contenders for best cookbook: Cheryl Day for her "Treasury of Southern Baking," Kristina Cho for "Mooncakes and Milk Bread," and Roxana Juliapat for her work on "Mother Grains."

The winner on June 11 was "Mooncakes and Milk Bread." The book, which provides an "insider's look," is described by publisher HarperCollins as "a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure through the world of Chinese bakeries from architect-turned-food-blogger Kristina Cho," and it's the first to focus exclusively on Chinese bakeries. The book was named as "one of the ten best cookbooks of the year" by The New Yorker Magazine and The New York Times, per Barnes & Noble, as well as by the San Francisco Chronicle, per Amazon; with nearly five-star ratings across the sites that have the book in stock. Aside from that, "Mooncakes and Milk Bread" was also honored as this year's "Emerging Voice," as announced on Twitter.

One of the warmest reviews of "Mooncakes and Milk Bread" comes from fellow cookbook author Hetty McKinnon, who calls the book "a trip down memory lane, an evocative look at the foods that made me happy as a child and that are laced with nostalgia for me as an adult ... It is more than a Chinese baking book — it is a triumphant celebration of how food brings people from different generations and cultures together."