Monday night we attended the James Beard Awards at Lincoln Center in New York the way a long awards show should be attended: in the press room, with champagne, caviar, cheese, and a celebrity chef/restaurateur at every turn. We walked in arm-in-arm (ok, slightly behind and to the left, but still…) with Todd English, Thomas Keller was straight through the front door, Daniel Boulud to the right, and Drew Nieporent gave us a high five. The majority of the evening was spent standing around with foodie journalists like our good friends Bret Thorn from NRN and Pat Cobe from Restaurant Business, and F&B guru Kelley Jones of Societe Hospitality, trying to find our place on the program, and figure out when they were getting to the important stuff like design. In true hospitality industry style, the bar was apparently turning out so many new drinks they kept running out of glasses, but to their credit, never of alcohol. The line continued to get longer as more and more award nominees and winners realized that yes indeed, this was the only open bar in the joint. Congrats to all winners, especially David Rockwell, who received a Who’s Who in Food and Beverage; Andre Kikoski for Outstanding Design for the Wright in New York; graphics winner Pandiscio Co., for the Standard in New York; Marea for Best New Restaurant; and Daniel for Outstanding Restaurant.
After the awards, we left the press room to try a sampling of food from James Beard chefs who had set up stations on both levels of Avery Fisher Hall. We were lucky enough to grab a bite to eat with David Rockwell, catch up with designer Barbara Lazaroff who signed a copy of her new book coming out soon, bump into many foodie publicists, and walk around with graphic design nominees Denise Korn and Javier Cortes, Korn Design, and family, Andre Kikoski, and Kelley Jones. One of the highlights of the night was the after-party at the wine cellar of Bar Boulud, where chef Boulud sprayed champagne everywhere in celebration. And we ended the night at Marea. Conveniently (for our feet mostly) they were all in walking distance from Lincoln Center.
–Tara Mastrelli and Stacy Shoemaker Rauen