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News Mon Mar 19 2012

2012 James Beard Award Finalists Announced: Chicago Stands Tall

beardaward2012.jpgThe finalists for this year's James Beard Foundation Awards were announced this afternoon via Twitter. Chicago restaurants and chefs had a strong showing in the semifinals, but that's never a guarantee that the finalists will be heavy on locals.

However, as predicted, the Best Chef: Great Lakes category is dominated by Chicagoans this year. Michael Carlson of Schwa, Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat, Bruce Sherman of North Pond and Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia got the nod. Anne Kearney of Rue Dumaine in Dayton, OH is the only non-local finalist.

Next and its chef, Dave Beran, both won nominations, for Best New Restaurant and Rising Star Chef of the Year, respectively. They were the only Chicago finalists in those categories. Meanwhile, Grant Achatz was among the inductees this year to the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America list, the foundation's equivalent to a culinary hall of fame.

Paul Kahan is a finalist for Outstanding Chef, and perennial nominee Mindy Segal is a finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Spiaggia and Topolobampo are among the finalists for Outstanding Service, while Sepia is up for Outstanding Wine Program and both the Aviary and Violet Hour made the cut for the new Outstanding Bar Program award.

As previously announced, chef Charlie Trotter was named Humanitarian of the Year.

Strength in the Media Awards, Too

Chicago's media is also well represented among the writing awards. The Tribune's Kevin Pang is a finalist for Food-Related Column for his stories "Hole in My Heart," "Supper Club Culture" and "So Sue Me," which I think was the original title for his piece about ketchup on hot dogs. The Sun-Times' former food editor, Janet Rausa-Fuller, is nominated in the Health & Well-Being category for "Starting from Scratch."

On the broadcast side, Steve Dolinsky's "The Hungry Hound" segment on ABC 7 got the nod for Television Segment on Non-Food Show, and in the Special/Documentary (Television or Video Webcast) category, Michael Gebert's Sky Full of Bacon received a nomination for the feature A Barbecue History of Chicago. Chicago expat Ted Allen is nominated twice for his Food Network show "Chopped," in both the Television Program, in Studio or Fixed Location and TV Food Personality/Host categories.

WBEZ landed two of three Radio Show/Audio Webcast nominations: Nina Barett's "Fear of Frying: Culinary Nightmares" series and Jerome McDonnell's story for Worldview, "From Bread Lines to Revolution: The Role of Food in the Arab Uprisings."

The book, broadcast and journalism awards are May 4. Alton Brown will be the emcee for the big restaurant awards ceremony at the Lincoln Center in New York on May 7, when we find out which local restaurants and chefs reign supreme win in their categories.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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