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Chicago Gets Beaten Up at the Beard Awards

By Anthony Todd in Food on May 10, 2011 3:20PM

Beard Award Ballots Sent to Judges: Vote Early and Often In a nearly-unprecedented reversal of fortune last night, Chicago chefs and restaurants got slammed at the James Beard Awards dinner in New York. Unlike our usual banner showing, Chicago took home just one single chef/restaurant award - an "Outstanding Restauranteur" award for Lettuce Entertain You owner Rich Melman. Best of all, he wasn't even there! According to the Trib, Melman didn't even know the Beard Awards were happening. Rick Bayless was not happy about it; on Twitter, he wrote "Total shut out for Chicago tonight at Beard Awards! Worse yet: 1 of top 3 awards goes to Melman--r only chance to shine.NO SHOW!AT BEARDS??" There's more carnage - keep reading.

Things were particularly bad in the Best Chef - Great Lakes category, where Chicagoist favorites Bruce Sherman, Paul Virant and Curtis Duffy were all nominated, and none won! Even Michael Carlson of Schwa was passed up in favor of Chef Alex Young of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mindy Segal didn't get picked for best pastry chef for oh, the 299th time (she was robbed each and every one of those times) and our beloved Girl and the Goat lost out on the Best New Restaurant award.

On the plus side, the multimedia feature award went to Chicago's own Mike Gebert (of Sky Full of Bacon) and Julie Theil (Assistant Editor of the Reader) for their "Key Ingredients" series. Some hometown heroes to be proud of, for sure.