Monday, May 9, 2011
Chicago Gets Smacked Down at Beard!
"Thanks to the James Beard Foundation for recognizing mac 'n cheese and fried chicken," said Alex Young, the chef/owner of Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Young seemed as shocked as everyone else when his name was called at the annual awards in culinary excellence Monday in New York, especially seeing as he was up against an entire Chicagoland contingent in his category of Best Chef: Great Lakes.
You likely won't find "mac 'n' cheese and fried chicken" on the menus at Avenues, where Curtis Duffy helms the kitchen; Paul Virant's Vie, Michael Carlson's Schwa or at Bruce Sherman's North Pond, but I guess Beard wasn't looking for anything innovative this year. Oh, and did I mention that three of these restaurants received one or two Michelin stars?!
LEYE's Rich Melman, with wife Martha (Photo: via Crain's Chicago Business)
Also walking away awardless were the Boka Restaurant Group folks for Girl & The Goat in the Best New Restaurant category; Paul Kahan (avec, Blackbird, Big Star, Publican) in the Outstanding Chef category; Rick Bayless (Topolobampo) for Outstanding Service; and Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate) for Best Pastry Chef.
UPDATE: Chicago FINALLY gets some love when Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises' Richard Melman wins for Outstanding Restaurateur. This was the first time a Chicagoan won this category.
Melman, however, was not in the house to accept his award. He told the Chicago Tribune: "I didn't even realize that today were the Beard awards until you called."
And Girl & The Goat's Stephanie Izard issued a statement to her fans via Twitter: "Thank you for all the condolence texts, etc. Was pretty f*cking cool to see name on screen anyways. Though winning is more fun."
Hmmmm, oh well. Maybe Chicago will fare better next year . . .