Thursday, March 26, 2009

James Beard Awards

If you love to cook you may want to thank James Beard. If you just asked yourself "Who is James Beard?", then you can't call yourself any type of cook. It's simply impossible to sum up Beard's life in a few sentences, but this is what I can say ... When James Beard died at 82 on January 21, 1985, he left a legacy of culinary excellence and integrity to generations of home cooks and professional chefs. He was hailed as "The Father of American Gastronomy" and his name remains synonymous with American food. Go your local book store, library or search the internet to learn more about Beard. It'll make you appreciate cooking and everything about food.

The reason I mention Beard is because The James Beard Foundation Awards are right around the corner: Monday, May 4. These awards shine a spotlight on the best and brightest talent in the food and beverage industry. Here's how the foundations explains what the awards represent.

"Covering all aspects of the industry—from chefs and restaurateurs to cookbook authors and food journalists to restaurant designers and architects and more—the James Beard Foundation Awards are the highest honors for food and beverage professionals working in America. The awards are presented each spring at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Nominees and winners are fĂȘted at a weekend of gala events in New York City that has become the social and gastronomic highlight of the year.

Nowhere has the power and influence of women in the food industry been more recognized than at the James Beard Foundation, where more than 350 medallions have been awarded to women during the 19-year history of the Awards. There are more talented and successful women than ever before in all aspects of the food and hospitality world, from chefs to farmers, pastry chefs to bread bakers, winemakers to cheese makers, and more. At this year’s Awards, the James Beard Foundation will be celebrating these women who serve as role models for future generations and who help make our world more delicious every day. At the Media Awards Dinner and Gala Reception celebrations, women from various areas of the culinary industry and from across the country will be represented.

For more information, to join as a member, to learn more about James Beard, or to sign up to receive Beard Bites, our free electronic newsletter, visit

Happy Eating! Mr. Foodie