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Big Night For Chicago At The James Beard Awards

By Anthony Todd in Food on May 7, 2013 3:00PM


The annual James Beard Awards — the Oscars of food — wrapped up last night with the chefs' awards. Every glitzy chef, journalist and publicist from across the country gathered in New York to find out who would win. (Where was our invitation?)

Chicago had an amazing night at the Beard awards, though none of the results were particularly shocking. From a field that included Chefs Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia), Paul Virant (Vie) and Dave Beran (Next), Stephanie Izard took home top honors for Best Chef: Great Lakes. That'll probably make her feel better about Little Goat's 1-star review from the Chicago Tribune last week.

We're a sucker for often-nominated, never won stories (see: Bruce Sherman and Mindy Segal) so we were rooting for local hero Chef Paul Kahan. The chef/owner of Blackbird, Publican and Publican Quality Meats had been nominated for Outstanding Chef for the fifth time, and he finally won. Ok, he tied. But he tied with David Chang of Momofuko, so we'd call that a win anyway. Congrats, Paul.

Outside of the "best chef" categories, The Aviary won for Outstanding Bar Program. Chicago Journalists had reason to crow Friday night as The Reader's Mike Sula won the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award for his essay on eating squirrel, Chicken of the Trees. WBEZ's Nina Barret won best Radio/audio presentation for her segment "Fear of Frying."

Congratulations to all the winners! If you're the kind of food geek who wants to watch the entire awards ceremony, check it out below.