Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 25th Annual James Beard Award Winners

Over two decades have passed since the James Beard Awards began handing out trophies to the best in the restaurant world, and it continues to be the Academy Awards of the food world. Last night, at the packed Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, the awards commenced with their 25th annual ceremony that honored the country’s top chefs, restaurants, food writers, journalists, servers, bartenders, and television personalities. Not surprising, New York took a big chunk of the glory, with awards going to Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, who won Best Chef in New York, and Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar who won Rising Star Chef of the Year, beating out Dave Beran of Grant Achatz’s Next, which won the Best New Restaurant award. New York also boasts a win for the outstanding chef award, which went to Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park. He trumped the other top-notch contestants including David Chang, Paul Kahan, Nancy Silverton, and Gary Danko. Paul Grieco took the prize with Terroir for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. PDT won for Outstanding Bar Program, and La Grenouille achieved victory for outstanding service.

Though only a handful of people walked away with a medal, Lincoln Center filled up with the country’s hottest foodie folk. April Bloomfield of the Breslin and Spotted Pig made an appearance decked out in a snappy suit and—shocker—with makeup on. Food Republic spotted Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa in Boston sneaking a flask of Fernet, and, rumor has it a PR gal got fired after failing to recognize renowned French chef Jacques Pépin and not letting him enter the pressroom. Naturally, the nominees were there, as well as haute chefs like Ed Lee, Rick Bayless, Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Stephanie Izard, Cathy Whims, and dozens more. Keep making us tasty treats guys, and, may you all win next year.

The List of Winners:

Outstanding Chef: Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park (NYC)

Outstanding Restaurant: Boulevard (San Francisco)

Rising Star Chef: Christina Tosi, Momofuku Milk Bar (NYC)

Best New Restaurant: Next (Chicago)

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH):  Bruce Sherman, North Pond (Chicago)

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA): Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama (Hoboken, NJ)

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI): Tory Miller, L’Etoile (Madison, WI)

Best Chef: New York City: Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT): Tim Cushman, O Ya (Boston)

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY), Matt Dillon, Sitka & Spruce (Seattle)

Best Chef: Pacific (CA, HI), Matt Molina, Osteria Mozza (Los Angeles)
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS): Chris Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club (Birmingham, AL)

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV): Tie between Hugh Acheson, Five and Ten (Athens, GA) and Linton Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene (Atlanta)

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT), Paul Qui, Uchiko (Austin, TX)

Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional, Paul Grieco, Terroir (NYC)

Outstanding Wine Program, No. 9 Park (Boston)

Outstanding Bar Program, PDT (NYC)

Outstanding Service, La Grenouille (NYC)

Outstanding Pastry Chef, Mindy Segal, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate (Chicago)

Outstanding Restaurateur, Tom Douglas, Tom Douglas Restaurants (Seattle)

For a complete list of winners, go here.

Photo of Momofuk’s Christina Tosi by Kent Miller

Where Celebs Go Out: Hilary Duff, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kristin Bell

Martha Stewart at Good Housekeeping‘s 125th anniversary “Shine On” benefit for the National Women’s History Museum – Mmm. I love La Grenouille. I love everything of Jean Georges. I love everything of Daniel. And I love Benoit, right around the corner, yeah. Every one of them has its specialty, of course. If you go to Benoit, you can have the oysters—they’re delicious. The souflees are like the best. And at Grenouille—the frog’s legs.

Hilary Duff – That’s a good one, I have to answer that. In L.A, Giorgio Baldi. ● Meryl Streep – Women’s National History Museum, which is yet-to-be-built on the mall, in D.C. ● Michelle TrachtenbergYerba Buena. ● Kristin Bell – In Los Angeles, Real Food Daily. ● Gayle King – I love Jean Georges and I just discovered Quality Meats the other day on 58th, really good. ● Candice BergenJean Georges at the Mark, at the moment. ● Liz SmithSwifty’s, at Lexington between 72nd and 73rd. It inherited the old Mortimer’s crowd, but it’s smaller. They just have the kind of food I love. I can always find something wonderful to eat there: tuna carpaccio, their little hamburgers, vichysoisse. I like everything they do. ● Carolyn Maloney – I go in my neighborhood—Paola’s, right next door, hot dogs on the street the Four Seasons is always a great restaurant. Every corner has a great restaurant. ● Marlo Thomas: – I love Nello, Bella Blue, Il Mulino, and Primola. I’ve got a million of ’em. ● Phil Donahue – We enjoy Nello and Primola. We’re an east side crowd, so those are two of them. And I don’t get out like I used to, so I don’t have as many to suggest to you. But I hope those two will be fine, and I haven’t hurt their reputation by endorsing them. ● Laura BenantiABC Kitchen. I like Back Forty as well. They’re incredible. Their hamburger is the best in the city. And they’re both all local and organic. ● Anika Noni Rose – Dang it, I just went completely blank! Wait a minute. Give me a second because I love to eat, and I am a restaurant girl. Pio Pio is Peruvian and has the best chicken in the world. It’s on 44th and 10th Avenue. ● Cheryl Tiegs – I live in Los Angeles. The Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge, and MyHouse.

Reaction Mixed for 21 Club’s Tie-Down

imageThe New York Times finally weighs in on 21 Club’s infamous relaxing of its dress code, with the club’s affable manager Bryan McGuire breaking his silence. “We wanted to be on a more level playing field with our competitors,” he tells the Times. “We didn’t think it was that big a deal.” Oh but it is, say some critics. “It’s the final victory of Los Angeles,” snipped Tim Zagat.

“Etiquette is on a downward spiral, and politeness is disappearing,” said Michael O’Keeffe, owner the River Café. “I will miss the tie policy at ‘21.’ It held up an example of what etiquette could be.” Scoffed another, “Now Bill Gates and the Google guys can come in.” Menswear designer Alan Flusser said the no-tie policy “is unfortunate.” He added, “I’m a traditionalist, and I don’t think this sends the right message to young people.”

Yet some shrug off the change. “I’m not shocked at the news,” said one longtime customer. “It is an appropriate change.” La Grenouille manager Charles Masson, who lifted his tie-only policy in 2003, raises a good point. “There used to be a time when men wore white wigs, too,” he said. Yet one thing remains: the famed tie drawer located in the cloakroom, where neckwear was offered to the unaware and under-dressed. They still offer ties to those in need.

New York: Top 10 Restaurant Recession Specials

imageIf there’s one upside to the tanking economy, it’s that transcendental culinary experiences are finally accessible to the foodie cheapskates. Here’s a rundown of 10 particular pleasures of the palate and wallet, offered for the moment at a discount. Of course, “discount” is a very relative term …

10. Two-pound Lobster at Strip House, $58. Replaces their $116 four-pounder with a critter that’s half the size and half the price.

9. 2005 Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio, Mastroberardino at Union Square Cafe, $25. Wedged between the four-figure bottles on their 30-plus-page wine list are 100 new selections under $75 — Why this particular Italian wine? Because when an eatery prices a Plain-Jane Belgium beer at $9, $25 for a bottle of wine is a steal.

8. Organic corn dogs at Hundred Acres, $2. For this price we’ll not only eat a corn dog, we’ll wash it down with their $3 ice cream float — offered 5-7 p.m.

7. Wok-seared filet mignon with mixed vegetables in peanut sauce at Ruby Foos, $10. At long last, a worthy excuse to be caught in one of the irritably kitschy Pan Asian tourist magnets.

6. Free Monday panini with glass of wine at Vero Wine Bar, around $10. Booze plus carbs equals happiness — especially if part of the equation is free.

5. Lunch entrée and a glass of wine Fridays at La Grenouille, $35. So you’ll have some extra cash to put towards that $20,000 panther ring from Cartier, conveniently located across the street from the posh eatery.

4. Chicken and rice at Republic, $8. Because dammit, when the going gets rough, that’s what you eat! Luckily this is Manhattan, so the chicken comes with tasty Vietnamese rice, shiitake and wood-ear mushrooms, Asian basil, and bean paste.

3. Three-course Sunday dinner at Apiary, $35. Groaning because it’s almost Monday isn’t attractive, so treat yourself to this new prix-fixe that includes a chocolate cashew brownie tart with cashew ice cream.

2. Two-course dinner menu at Eighty One, $42. We don’t know what foie gras royale is, but we had it, and it was not only good — it was worth the heartburn.

1. Three-course prix fixe at Le Cirque’s Wine Lounge, $48. Now the only question is: Do we pair our meal with the $50 glass of 1993 Barolo, or do we go for the more affordable $48 glass of 1996 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin “la Grande dame?”