JBF Awards Gala Theme Also Revealed Today
New York, NY (RestaurantNews.com) The James Beard Foundation announced today its list of Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists and the theme for the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards, the culinary industry’s most prestigious recognition program. The live press conference took place in Orlando, Florida, home to a flourishing farm-to-table movement and vibrant independent restaurant scene. Hosted by Visit Orlando, the official tourism association, the event marked the first time the semifinalists were announced at a live event.
Selected from a list of over 38,000 online entries, the prestigious group of Semifinalists in 20 categories represents a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in ten different regions across the U.S., to the nation’s top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, and rising star chefs.
Also revealed at the press conference was the theme for the 2014 Awards: “Sounds of the City.” This theme will explore the enduring relationship between music and food, celebrating the many ways in which the culinary community is inspired by music and the artists who create it. Music has continually played an important role in the culinary world, from inspiring chefs in the kitchen to setting the tone in a dining room and everything in between. A surprising number of chefs have crossed over from the world of music to food and even more continue to express themselves as musicians in their downtime. From Nashville to New Orleans, Detroit to Seattle, this year’s gala reception will feature chefs from some of America’s beloved musical cities creating dishes inspired by their favorite sounds, whether it’s a local musical act, special song, or impactful musician.
On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, the Foundation will announce the final nominees for all Award categories during a press brunch hosted by One Off Hospitality Group at The Publican in Chicago. Nominations will also be announced live via the Foundation’s Twitter feed at twitter.com/beardfoundation.
On Friday, May 2, 2014, the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will take place at Gotham Hall in New York City.
The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will take place at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City on Monday, May 5, 2014. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country. Tickets to the May 5 Awards ceremony and gala reception will go on sale on March 18, 2014, and can be purchased at jamesbeard.org/awards or through the Awards Box Office at 914.231.6180.
How the Restaurant and Chef Awards Work
The James Beard Foundation holds an online open call for entries beginning in mid-October of each year. This year, over 38,000 entries were received, a list which the Restaurant and Chef Committee goes through to determine eligibility and regional representation. Based on the results and eligibility requirements for each award, the committee then produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 20 Restaurant and Chef awards categories, some of which include Outstanding Chef (Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters), Outstanding Restaurant, Best Chef in ten different U.S. regions, Rising Star Chef of the Year, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional, Outstanding Bar Program, and Best New Restaurant.
The list of semifinalist nominees is then sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners, votes on specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category. The same judges then vote on these five nominees to select the winners. The governing Awards Committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners in May.
Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.
The 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards are presented with support by the following partners: Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, Lenox Tableware and Gifts; Supporting Sponsors: Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water, Breville, Celebrity Cruises®, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Lavazza, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Stella Artois®, Valrhona; Gala Reception Sponsors: Ecolab, Food Network/Cooking Channel; Additional Support: Chefwear, VerTerra Dinnerware, Visit Orlando®.
About the James Beard Foundation
Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful and delicious food. Today the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. In September of 2012, the Foundation launched the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Protocol and helped create the American Chef Corps as a way to champion American chefs abroad, promote American food products and foster an interest in American culinary culture and history through international programs and initiatives. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org. Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter and Instagram.
Susan Magrino Agency
Mary Blanton Ogushwitz