Chicago's Lyric Opera House is packed with the country's best chefs right now, donning tuxes and gowns, and everyone's headed for a cocktail. They're here to celebrate 2017's James Beard Award winners.
This year was a big one for Philadelphia, with Michael Solomonov taking home the Outstanding Chef award and Stephen Starr, who owns Le Coucou (Best New Restaurant), Serpico and an empire of other restaurants, finally winning Outstanding Restaurateur after many years of nomination. "It's pretty amazing. Philly's been a real breeding ground for chefs," Starr says. "A lot of what I've done in the last three years has been about want to win this award."
At the start of the night, Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of the city, said he calls the city, "the culinary capital of America." That hometown pride was felt in the house with Rick Bayless's win for Topolobampo as Outstanding Restaurant and Sarah Grueneberg wearing the medal for Best Chef: Great Lakes.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who hosted the event kicked it off saying "It's an honor to be nominated but I'm also sure it feels really fucking good to win." With that in mind, here are the winners.
2017 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards
Best New Restaurant
A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.
Winner: Le Coucou, NYC
A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries, or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a baker or pastry chef for at least five years.
Winner: Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington D.C.
Outstanding Bar Program
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits and/or beer service.
Winner: Arnaud’s French 75 Bar, New Orleans
A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Must have been working as a chef for the past five years.
Winner: Michael Solomonov, Zahav, Philadelphia
Outstanding Pastry Chef
A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.
Winner: Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel, NYC
A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service. Must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.
Winner: Topolobampo, Chicago
A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.
A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.
Winner: Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY
Outstanding Wine Program
A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.
Winner: Canlis, Seattle
Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional
A beer, wine, or spirits professional who has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.
Winner: Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
Rising Star Chef of the Year
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.
Winner: Zachary Engel, Shaya, New Orleans
Best Regional Chefs
Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.
Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Winner: Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde, Chicago
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Winner: Greg Vernick, Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia
Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Winner: Kevin Nashan, Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis
Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)
Winner: Marco Canora, Hearth
Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT)
Winner: Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME
Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Winner: Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, OR
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)
Winner: Rebecca Wilcomb, Herbsaint, New Orleans
Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
Winner: Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta
Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)
Winner: Hugo Ortega, Hugo’s, Houston
Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
Winner: Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
2017 James Beard Foundation America's Classics
Bertha's Kitchen, North Charleston, SC
Owners: Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney and Sharon Coakley
Gioia's Deli, St. Louis
Owner: Alex Donley
La Taqueria, San Francisco
Owner: Miguel Jara
Owners: Christina Sahadi Whelan and Ron Sahadi
Schultz's Crab House, Essex, MD
Owners: Karen and Bob McKinney
2017 James Beard Foundation Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees
Culinarian; Host of KCRW’s Good Food
President and CEO, Legal Sea Foods
Multiple James Beard Award-Winning Chef; Founder, President and CEO, Wholesome Wave
2017 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year
One World Everybody Eats
Salt Lake City
2017 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award
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