Monday, March 21, 2011

The James Beard Noms Are Out . . .

Curtis Duffy, chef de cuisine at Avenues at the Peninsula. (Photo: Peninsula Chicago)

At last year's James Beard Foundation Awards, Avenues' chef Curtis Duffy was tapped by Grant Achatz to cook for the ceremony—an honor given to a past winner who passes the baton to another worthy chef.

And today, Duffy finds himself among the Beard honoree elite, as the prestigious awards announced the nominees for 2011.

"It's very emotional," Duffy told 312DD. "I have been waiting for this to happen my entire career. It's equivalent to Michelin (Duffy won two Michelin stars in November), but James Beard is huge, especially among your colleagues.

"It's like finally everything's coming together. You wait and you hope and you work to a certain goal. It's very nice to be recognized for that, especially for an award that's driven by your peers and colleagues."

Duffy's category of Best Chef: Great Lakes, however, has some strong competition with the likes of Michael Carlson (Schwa), Bruce Sherman (North Pond), Paul Virant (Vie) and Alex Young of Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Other categories featuring Chicago-based chefs and restaurants:

Outstanding Restaurant Graphics: The Publican, Chicago; L’Artusi, NYC; The National Bar & Dining Rooms, NYC

Outstanding Pastry Chef: Joanne Chang, Patrick Fahy (Blackbird), Dahlia Narvaez, Angela Pinkerto, Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate)

Best New Restaurant: ABC Kitchen, Benu, Girl & the Goat, Menton, Torrisi Italian Specialties

Outstanding Service: Canlis, Emeril’s, La Grenouille, Per Se, Topolobampo

Outstanding Restaurateur: Bruce Bromberg and Eric Bromberg, Tom Douglas, Pat Kuleto, Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises), Phil Suarez

Outstanding Chef: José Andrés, Gary Danko, Suzanne Goin, Paul Kahan (avec, Big Star, Blackbird, Publican), Charles Phan

The ceremony takes place in New York on May 9. Good luck to all!

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