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James Beard Awards honor standout chefs, restaurants

This week’s restaurant industry equivalent of the Oscars yielded few surprise moments.

The people spoke—perhaps swooned is a better word—and the 2014 James Beard Awards committee paid heed: NYC’s Dominique Ansel, mastermind behind the absurdly popular Cronut, picked up Outstanding Pastry Chef honors early this week.

Pêche Seafood Grille, Donald Link’s latest New Orleans concept, earned kudos in two categories: Best New Restaurant and Best Chef: South for Ryan Prewitt.

Clockwise from top left: Nancy Silverton, Jimmy Bannos Jr., Charles Phan and Barbara Lynch

Two Californians dominated the best chef/restaurant categories. Nancy Silverton, creator of partner in La Brea Bakery, Campanile, Pizzeria Mozza and other popular Los Angeles food establishments, won this year’s Outstanding Chef honors. Up the coast, Charles Phan’s The Slanted Door was named Outstanding Restaurant.

Veteran Barbara Lynch, whose Boston-based Barbara Lynch Gruppo includes No. 9 Park, Menton, G&G Oysters and other concepts, was feted as Outstanding Restaurateur. Outstanding Service kudos went to The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, CA.

The beverage category awards went to The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN, which won for Outstanding Wine Program; The Bar at the NoMad Hotel in NYC, which captured Outstanding Bar Program honors; and Garrett Oliver, who was named Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional.

Rising Star Chef of the Year honors were shared between Jimmy Bannos Jr., from Chicago’s The Purple Pig; and Blaine Wetzel, who cooks at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island, WA.

Regional Best Chef awards went to: Dave Beran, Next, Chicago (Great Lakes), Vikram Sunderam, Rasika, Washington, DC (Mid-Atlantic), Justin Aprahamian, Sanford, Milwaukee (Midwest), April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig, NYC (New York City), Jamie Bissonnette, Coppa, Boston (Northeast), Naomi Pomeroy, Beast, Portland, OR (Northwest), Ryan Prewitt, Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans; and Sue Zemanick, Gautreau’s, New Orleans (South), Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh, NC (Southeast), Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, Houston (Southwest) and Daniel Patterson, Coi, San Francisco (West).

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and continue to emphasize the Foundation’s mission: to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity.

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