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Chicago Represents at the Beard Awards

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on May 8, 2007 1:30PM


The James L. Beard Awards — the Oscars of the culinary world — were handed out last night. Though Chicago didn't win a large number of awards, we did win one of the most important ones, so we can take solace in that.

The biggest Chicago winner was Frontera Grill which beat out hometown favorite Spiaggia to be named Restaurant of the Year. Frontera winning made us wonder what goes into the nominations for the Beard Awards. Though we love Frontera and its sister restaurant Topolobampo, we aren't even sure Frontera is "restaurant of the year" in Chicago, let alone the entire country. Still, a round of applause is in order for Rick Bayless and his crew for their big win. Something tells Chicagoist they may have indulged in a celebratory margarita or two last night.

Other Chicago winners include Tru (i.e. Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand) for outstanding Restaurant Service and the big no-shock-here win of the night, Grant Achatz and Alinea for Best Chef, Great Lakes.

Chicago food media didn't receive a single journalism Beard Award either. What gives? How can the Bay Area version of "Check, Please!" be better than the original? They must have missed the Latsu episode.

Thanks to Serious Eats for liveblogging the event with complete results. Also, more photos and insight at Gothamist, where Laren Spirer was fortunate enough to attend the event.

Photo of Grant Achatz by Matthew Krautheim for Gothamist.