The James Beard Foundation Awards Final Noms . . . Who I’m Rooting For
The James Beard Foundation Awards are held on May 3 and 6 in New York City, and the final lists of nominees are out. Locally, there was plenty of representation. More on that in a minute.
I was overjoyed to see Jesse Grffiths’ Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish get a nod in the “Single Subject” book category. Welcome Books in New York City made a brilliant book with Jesse, and it really emphasized for me how “right” the JBF got it this year. What a tough job it is narrowing down so many talented and deserving entries all across the board, there will always be some sour grapes, some of it deserved as well, but the JBF really nailed it this year.
I must be getting really old, because I know almost everyone on the docket this year, and I will be sitting on my hands in NYC come May trying not to root for anyone because I really want everyone I know to win. Now, you might be saying to yourself, I bet all the nominees think that “everyone who is nominated is a winner.” That sort of talk is for pussies. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s an honor of honors to be nominated, but once you are, you better want to win. And if you don’t win, you graciously congratulate your friends (I am up against Anthony Bourdain and Steven Rinella who both host shows by Zero Point Zero Productions for “Television Program, On Location”), and if I lose to either Mind of a Chef or Meat Eater, I won’t be upset. They are great shows and probably more deserving of a win than I am, but up until the envelope ripping moment of truth, I will be wanting to win more than I want to lose. In the “Outstanding Personality/Host” category, I am up against Sara Moulton and Gerry Garvin. I am so blessed, it’s just an honor to be nominated . . . and I want to win that one very badly also.
Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is nominated for the “MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award” for her Mpls.St.Paul Magazine piece “The Cheese Artist.” She is up against Richard Parks who wrote a piece for Lucky Peach called “Khmerican Food,” and my pal Mike Sula of the Chicago Reader who wrote an amazing piece called “Chicken of the Trees.” Look ‘em all up and read them, superb food writing should be read. I am rooting for Dara because she is my friend, and I am not nominated in that category. Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine got a nod for "Perennial Plate," an amazing web series. They are superbly deserving, and I am rooting for them all the way because I am also not nominated in that category.
In the chef/restaurant categories, I was snubbed once again. Apparently I don’t qualify for those awards. The silver lining is that I can root for anyone! But in every category, there are four or five people I know, some for decades. In our region, “Best Chef: Midwest” noms went to Justin Aprahamian of Sanford in Milwaukee, Gerard Craft of Niche in St Louis, Colby Garrelts of Blue Stem in Kansas City, and local legends Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart and Jack Riebel of Butcher and the Boar. I am thrilled for Jack and Michelle, they earned those nominations in every way possible. I am thrilled for our region, and what it says about our city. I can think of six or eight other local chefs that could have been named as well, but you can’t have 25 names up for an award. That’s what the semis are all about and why making it that far is such an honor. Remember there are eight states in our region! I have personally gone on record about my personal happiness eating at Travail, Tilia, Piccolo, Sea Change, La Belle Vie, and Victory 44, and I think the chefs at all those restaurants will get their nominations and awards, and I am sure I am blanking on a few others that I can’t remember right now because it’s late, and I am angry I wasn’t nominated (again) for “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional.”
Bourdain Live & Parts Unknown
We all know Bourdain will be traveling the United States over the next two months to bring his "Guts & Glory" tour to live audiences beginning April 12 in San Francisco and ending May 13 in Washington D.C. Bourdain will stop in Minneapolis at the State Theatre at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2013. I will be there for sure.
The other Bourdain—the chef, author, bon vivant, and award winning TV guy—finally has a launch date for Parts Unknown, his new CNN show. It airs Sunday, April 14, at 8 p.m., CST. Set your DVRs. For those who don’t know, Bourdain left the Travel Channel last year and has created a one-hour weekend lifestyle series that travels across the globe to uncover, as the press release says, “little-known areas of the world and celebrate diverse cultures by exploring food and dining rituals. Known for his curiosity, candor, and acerbic wit, Bourdain takes viewers off the beaten path of tourist destinations—including some war-torn parts of the world—and meets with a variety of local citizens to offer a window into their lifestyles, and occasionally communes with an internationally lauded chef on his journeys.” I have seen clips of a few episodes on Bourdain’s phone one night over dinner, and trust me, this is a show you won’t want to miss.
First up, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. From there, it’s on to Libya, Colombia, the Quebecois side of Canada, Koreatown in Los Angeles, Tangier, Peru, and the Congo. For more Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, check out @partsunknownCNN (#PartsUnknown) on Twitter and Facebook, plus viewers can follow the live blog at CNN.com/partsunknown.