Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Beard Handicapping

March 21
And now a break on my reporting from Japan to attend to local matters:

The Beard Awards are going to be especially long this year. Two new geographical categories have been named: The former Midwest region has been divided into the Midwest and the Great Lakes, and the former Southeast has been split into the Southeast and the South.
Those awards are all very nice, but the only real career maker is Rising Star Chef, which is given to someone 30 years old or younger. The award for best new restaurant is always one to watch for news value.
Awards for outstanding chef, pastry chef and restaurant are given to big names that don't really need the extra attention.
The regional awards tend to involve the same nominees year after year who already enjoy fame in their respective areas. The winner is a toss-up. That will be a little different this year, since some of the regions have been reconfigured.
I talked to Michael Bauer about that. He’s the restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and also the chair of the Beard Foundation’s restaurant committee. He said they actually consulted with a cultural demographer who looked at the regions as cultural entities. The committee then regrouped "the ones that most likely went together culturally.” That’s why Hawaii was moved from the Pacific Northwest to California, so-to-speak. It will make it harder for Hawaiian restaurants to get nominated, but culturally it makes more sense.
But the biggest changes were in the Midwest and Southeast.
“The real reason for that, which I think kind of showed up in the nominations, is that those areas have grown, foodwise, and so they can sustain their own awards,” Bauer said.
Besides, he added, "what the awards do in an ideal world is not only recognise but also build and foster an environment for better cooking." Recognizing Midwesterners outside of Chicago and Southerners outside of Atlanta and Charleston should help.
In an attempt to keep the ceremony from getting too much longer, they have cut down the America’s Classics awards from eight to six.
Although the Beard Awards tend not to be full of surprises, nominations and awards are nice to get, nonetheless, so congratulations all around to the nominees.
Just for fun, I shall predict the winners. These are not my choices, mind you — they are who I expect to win.
I’m listing all of the nominees below (if you are new to the awards, don’t be surprised by the New York bias; it’s a regular thing for the Beard Foundation). My predictions have an X by them.

Outstanding restaurateur
X Thomas Keller
Keith McNally
Richard Melman
Drew Nieporent
Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Outstanding Chef
X Tom Colicchio
Lee Hefter
Jean Joho
Paul Kahan
Michel Richard

Outstanding Restaurant
X Boulevard, San Francisco
Frontera Grill, Chicago
Magnolia Grill, Durham, N.C.
Picholine, NYC
Spiaggia, Chicago

Best new restaurant
A Voce, NYC
Cochon, New Orleans
Cut, Beverly Hills
Restaurant Guy Savoy, Las Vegas
X L 'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, NYC
Momofuku Ssäm Bar, NYC

Rising Star chef
Nate Appleman, A16, San Francisco
Graham Elliot Bowles, Avenues at The Peninsula Hotel, Chicago
David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC
Patrick Connelly, Radius, Boston
X Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, NYC

Outstanding pastry chef
Will Goldfarb, Room 4 Dessert, NYC
Michael Laiskonis, Le Bernardin, NYC
Leslie Mackie, Macrina Bakery & Café, Seattle
Elizabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, Tartine Bakery, San Francisco
X Mindy Segal, HotChocolate, Chicago

Outstanding Wine Service
Bin 36, Chicago
i Trulli, NYC
Mary Elanie’s at The Phoenician, Scottsdale
Michel Richard Citronelle, DC
X Picasso, Las Vegas

outstanding wine and spirits professional award
Dale DeGroff
Paul Draper
Dan Duckhorn
Terry Theise
X Helen Turley

Outstanding service
Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.
Canlis, Seattle
La Grenouille, NYC
Terra, St. Helena, Calif.
X Tru, Chicago

The regional awards:
Pacific (California/Hawaii)
Traci Des Jardins, Jardiniére, SF
Douglas Keane, Cyrus, Healdsburg, Calif.
Rolan Passot, La Folie, SF
Craig Stoll, Delfina, SF
X Michael Tusk, Quince, SF

Mid-atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
X Cathal Armstrong
Restaurant Eve, Old Town Alexandria, Va.
RJ Cooper, Vidalia, D.C.
Jose Garces, Amada, Philadelphia
Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama, Hoboken
Frank Ruta, Palena, DC

Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Colby Garrelts, Bluestem, Kansas City
X Tim McKee, La Belle Vie, Minneapolis
Alex Roberts, Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis
Adam Siegel, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro, Milwaukee
Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City

Great lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
X Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago
Carrie Nahabedian, Naha, Chicago
Bruce Sherman, North Pond, Chicago
Michael Symon, Lola, Cleveland
Alex Young, Zingerman 's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, Mich.

New York City
Terrance Brennan, Picholine
Floyd Cardoz, Tabla
Wylie Dufresne, WD-50
Gabriel Kreuther, The Modern
X David Waltuck, Chanterelle

Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT)
Rob Evans, Hugo 's, Portland
Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, Arrows, Ogunquit, Maine
Michael Leviton, Lumière, West Newton, Mass.
X Frank McClelland, L’Espalier, Boston
Marc Orfaly, Pigalle, Boston

Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Scott Dolich, Park Kitchen, Portland
Maria Hines, Tilth, Seattle
X Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez, The Harvest Vine, Seattle
Holly Smith, Café Juanita, Kirkland, Wash.
John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
Hugh Acheson, Five & Ten, Athens, Ga.
X Arnaud Berthelier, The Dining Room in the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, Atlanta
John Fleer, Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.
Mike Lata, Fig, Charleston
Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT)
David Bull, Driskill Grill, Austin, Texas
Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.
X Sharon Hage, York Street, Dallas
Monica Pope, Tafia, Houston
Andrew Weisman, Restaurant Le Rêve, San Antonio

South (AL. AR, FL, LA, MS)
Michelle Bernstein, Michy 's, Miami
John Currence, City Grocery, Oxford, Miss.
Jonathan Eismann, Pacific Time, Miami Beach
Chris Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, Ala.
X Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

I’m not going to predict the design and graphics awards, but here they are, in case you’re curious:

Outstanding Restaurant Design
Lewis. Tsurumaki. Lewis (LTD) Architects
Designers: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis, New York City
For Xing Restaurant

Rockwell Group
Designers: David Rockwell, Shawn Sullivan, Nils Guldager
New York City
For Nobu Fifty Seven

Tadao Ando Architects and Associates
Designers: Tadao Ando, Stephanie Goto, Masataka Yano
New York City
For Morimoto

Outstanding Restaurant Graphics

Baron and Baron
Designers: Fabien Baron, Takashi Hiratsuka
New York City
For Buddakan

Base Design
New York City
For Stand

Memo Productions
Designers: Douglas Riccardi, Lisa Eaton
New York City
For Pizzeria Mozza (in LA)


Anonymous said...

They forgot to mention Magnolia Cafe in Chicago. The food is exemplary ang the service is very good.

Aileen Bordman said...

Michel Richard appears in my new film Monet's Palate with Meryl Streep. Alice Waters, Daniel Boulud..among others. Chef Richard is a delight in the kitchen and a wonderful Chef - Aileen Bordman