Joe Yonan must be feeling like Michael Jordan these days. The Post’s food editor has led his team of deputy editor Bonnie Benwick and former staff writer Jane Black to a third straight James Beard Foundation Award nomination in the food section category, an award that the section has now won twice. Do you smell dynasty?
Well, the nomination was even sweeter this year, since for the first time in its history, the Beard’s journalism awards went “platform neutral,” meaning that newspapers now compete against general interest magazines and Web sites for a nomination in the food section category. The Post’s section will go up against GQ and the San Francisco Chronicle’s food offerings for the top spot at Espace on 42nd Street on on Friday, May 6, when the foundation will pass out the broadcast and journalism awards.
No other local publication or broadcast outlet received a Beard nomination this year, but miraculously the Washington D.C., season of “Top Chef” was nominated, despite some terrible reviews. Less miraculously, the “Chef Jose Andres” segment on “60 Minutes,” hosted by Anderson Cooper, was also nominated. Finally, yours truly was nominated in the column/commentary category for three pieces I wrote (this, this and this, for those keeping track at home) while at Washington City Paper.
In the chefs category, Andres is the big winner locally. For the fourth straight year, the man behind the Minibar was one of five finalists for the outstanding chef award, presented to a “working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Candidates must have been working as chefs for at least the past 5 years.”
The Mid-Atlantic chef category was also dominated by D.C. toques. Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve is nominated for the fifth straight year. Armstrong will compete against Peter Pastan from 2 Amys and Obelisk as well as Komi’s Johnny Monis, who moved over to the Mid-Atlantic category after appearing for three straight years in the rising star category. Last but not yeast (really sorry about that one), Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton is a finalist for best wine and spirits professional.
The chef and restaurant awards will be handed out on Monday, May 9, at Avery Fisher Hall in the Lincoln Center. The full list of nominees can be found here.