James Beard Foundation Names 2014 Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees



Six Influential Culinary Professionals to be Honored at the James Beard Foundation Awards on Monday, May 5, 2014, in New York City

The James Beard Foundation is proud to announce the six 2014 inductees to the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. The prestigious award is given to renowned culinary professionals who have made a significant and unique contribution to the American food and beverage industry. This year’s honorees will be celebrated at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards, the culinary industry’s most prestigious recognition program, on Monday, May 5, 2014, at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater in New York City.

“We are delighted to honor six more distinguished leaders with our Foundation’s Who’s Who Awards,” said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. “These four influential chefs and two talented journalists represent the best of the best in our culinary world. They join a prestigious group of over 200 people who have made a significant impact in how Americans think about food.”

The 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees are:

Edward Behr, Food writer, Vermont

Edward Behr is the editor and publisher of the quarterly food magazine, The Art of Eating. First published as an eight-page newsletter in 1986, it has grown to become one of the most respected magazines about food and wine. Behr’s writing and magazine focus on taste and tradition. The Art of Eating was the first magazine a pioneer in stressing the important connection between taste and place. Behr has written about many of the best farmers and food artisans in France, Italy, and the United States. He is the author of The Artful Eater (1992, revised edition, 2004), The Art of Eating Cookbook: Recipes from the First 25 Years (2011) and 50 Foods: The Essentials of Good Taste (2013). His article, “The Lost Taste of Pork,” when it appeared in the magazine in 1999, caused Steve Ells, founder of the Chipotle fast food chain, to turn from conventional to humanely raised pork, creating one of the first major market for farmers who raise decent, delicious pork. Behr speaks internationally on food and culture.

John Besh, Chef and Restaurateur, New Orleans, LA       

John Besh is a chef and native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. Besh has nine restaurants including his flagship restaurant, August, which merges Besh’s classic French culinary training with his Southern roots. In his restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits, and public activities, he aims to preserve and promote ingredients, techniques, and heritage. In 2009, Besh published his first cookbook titled My New Orleans, a celebration of the culture and cuisine Besh loves. Since then, two additional titles, My Family Table, and Cooking From The Heart, have been published. He hosts two national public television cooking shows based on the books. The John Besh Foundation, founded in 2011, works to preserve New Orleans’ culinary heritage via initiatives such as the Chefs Move! culinary school scholarship and microloans for local farmers. In 2006, he won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Southeast and is also the recipient of Food & Wine’s Top 10 Best New Chefs in America.

David Chang, Momofuku Restaurant Group, NYC

David Chang is the chef and founder of Momofuku, which includes restaurants in New York City, Sydney, and Toronto. Momofuku originated in New York City, which is now home to Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Momofuku Ko, Momofuku Milk Bar, Momofuku Má Pêche, and Booker and Dax at Ssäm. Chang opened Momofuku Sei?bo, his first restaurant outside of New York City, at The Star in Sydney in October 2011. In 2012, he opened Momofuku Toronto in the heart of downtown Toronto with five distinct concepts in one building: Noodle Bar Toronto, Nikai, Milk Bar Toronto, Daish? and Sh?t?. Chang’s first cookbook, Momofuku, a New York Times best seller, came out in the fall of 2009, the same year Momofuku Ko was awarded 2 Michelin stars. His quarterly print journal with Peter Meehan and Chris Ying called Lucky Peach launched in the summer of 2011. In the fall of 2012, Chang was the first chef to be featured on the PBS television show The Mind of a Chef.

Barry Estabrook, Writer, Vermont

Stints on a dairy farm and a commercial fishing boat as a young man convinced Barry Estabrook that writing about how food was produced was a lot easier than actually producing it. Estabrook’s food career includes being a contributing editor for Gourmet magazine and serving on the advisory board of Gastronomica, The Journal of Food and Culture. He currently writes for The New York Times, The Washington Post, TheAtlantic.com, MarkBittman.com, Saveur, and Men’s Health. In 2011, Estabrook wrote the influential book, Tomatoland, which exposed how industrial agriculture has ruined the tomato in all ways – gastronomic, environmental, and in terms of labor abuse.

Paul Kahan, Executive Chef and Partner, Chicago

Paul Kahan has become the nationally recognizable face of Chicago chefs. Passionately seasonal, unconventionally creative, and dedicated to the inspiration of classical cuisine, Kahan has received international acclaim for Blackbird, avec, The Publican, Big Star, Publican Quality Meats, and most recently Nico Osteria. Awarded Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2013 and Best Chef: Midwest in 2004, Kahan has earned the praise of many who claim him to be one of America’s most influential working chefs. A Chicagoan through and through, Kahan grew up around food. His father owned a delicatessen and a smokehouse, and “when I wanted to make a buck,” says Kahan. “I would help my dad take the fish out of the brine, hang them on the racks, and wheel them into the smokehouse.”

Sherry Yard, Pastry Chef, Cookbook Author

Renowned chef Sherry Yard has earned the praise of her critics and peers with multiple accolades awarded throughout her career including two James Beard Awards for Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year and Best Baking Book for her cookbook debut The Secrets of Baking. Yard served as Executive Pastry Chef at Wolfgang Puck’s empire for nearly 20 years where her role encompassed a range of responsibilities from crafting masterful breads, creating menus, opening new restaurants while mentoring a generation of pastry chefs in kitchens from Singapore to Santa Monica. In 2014 Yard will revive the iconic Helms Bakery, a Los Angeles landmark that will feature a dinette for breakfast and lunch, a dedicated bakery, and a retail section of specialty products. Yard serves on the board of numerous philanthropic organizations and is a driving force of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP).

The James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America is a cadre of the most accomplished food and beverage professionals in the country. Though they represent a diverse cross-section of the food and beverage industry – from chefs to journalists to farmers to business executives to scholars – each has been identified by his or her peers as having displayed remarkable talent and achievement. Begun in 1984 by Cook’s Magazine, the Who’s Who has been administered by the James Beard Foundation since 1990. Each year, a ballot of 20 possible candidates is created and distributed to the entire Who’s Who group for voting.

On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, the Foundation will announce the final nominees for all Award categories during a press brunch hosted by One Off Hospitality Group at The Publican in Chicago. Nominations will also be announced live via the Foundation’s Twitter feed at twitter.com/beardfoundation and Livestream channel at http://new.livestream.com/jamesbeardfoundation.

On Friday, May 2, 2014, the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will take place at Gotham Hall in New York City. The evening will be hosted by multiple James Beard Foundation Award winners Matt Lee and Ted Lee.

The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will take place at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City on Monday, May 5, 2014. Headlining the event are Chopped host, Emmy Award-winning TV personality and multiple James Beard Award winner Ted Allen as Master of Ceremonies, accompanied by renowned multiple James Beard Award-winning chef, author, and restaurateur Mario Batali as Gala Chef Chair. Together, the two will conduct an evening celebrating the “Sounds of the City,” the enduring relationship between music and food, and the many ways in which the culinary community is inspired by music and the artists who create it. This year’s gala reception will feature chefs from some of America’s beloved musical cities creating dishes inspired by their favorite sounds, whether it’s a local musical act, special song, or impactful musician. During the event, which is open to the public, winners will be announced in 20 restaurant and chef award categories, along with restaurant design awards and special achievement awards including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. The gala reception immediately following will showcase top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country. Tickets to the May 5 Awards ceremony and gala reception will go on sale on March 18, 2014, and can be purchased at jamesbeard.org/awards or through the Awards Box Office at 914.231.6180.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.

The 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards are presented with support by the following partners: Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, Lenox Tableware and Gifts; Supporting Sponsors: Acqua Panna Natural Spring Water, Breville, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Lavazza, S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Stella Artois, Valrhona; Gala Reception Sponsors: Celebrity Cruises, Ecolab, Food Network & Cooking Channel, Pernod Ricard USA, Tanqueray No. TEN; Additional Support: Chefwear, Crest Be, VerTerra Dinnerware, Visit Orlando.

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful and delicious food. Today the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. In September of 2012, the Foundation launched the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Protocol and helped create the American Chef Corps as a way to champion American chefs abroad, promote American food products and foster an interest in American culinary culture and history through international programs and initiatives. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org. Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter and Instagram.