Is Los Angeles getting snubbed by the James Beard Foundation?
The foundation doles out its prestigious awards May 3 at a star-studded gala at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. As foodies everywhere know, they’re the Oscars of the culinary world, arguably the highest honor handed out. Categories include outstanding chef, restaurant, pastry chef, restaurateur, wine service, best new restaurant and the career-making rising star chef of the year.
And of the 36 chefs and restaurants named as finalists in those seven marquee categories this year, exactly one is from Los Angeles: Suzanne Goin, of Lucques and Tavern, who is nominated for outstanding chef. By contrast, eight finalists are from New York City, and nine are from San Francisco.
It’s easy to see why some in Los Angeles and Southern California feel overlooked. Though it is true that Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich took outstanding restaurateurs in 2008, that award honored the entirety of their extensive restaurant holdings, including the three Mozza properties in Los Angeles.