What Would You Cook for James Beard?

The chefs cooking at tonight’s post-ceremony gala reception are each making a dish inspired by James Beard, his books, or a particular recipe. We asked them what they would serve to James Beard himself. Here are a few of their responses: 
JBF Award Winner Larry Forgione, Conservatory for American Food Studies, St. Helena, CA
“In the spring Jim always made a weekly visit to an American Place to have my shad roe, morels, asparagus, and fiddlehead ferns.”
JBF Award Winner Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston
“I would make him cornbread, tomato-cornmeal gravy, and my mom’s recipe for chicken and dumplings. I would end the meal with 15-year Pappy Van Winkle’s bourbon and my grandma’s sorghum–apple stack cake.
JBF Award–Winning Pastry Chef Sarabeth Levine, Sarabeth’s, NYC

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I Love to Eat Makes Its NYC Debut

As a surprise to our guests, playwright James Still just staged an excerpt from his one-man play about James Beard, ​I Love to Eat​, onstage at Avery Fisher Hall.


When Still began considering James Beard as the subject of his next script, he knew immediately that he had found a rich and charismatic figure who could command the stage. “With a solo play, you have to ask yourself the basic question: do I want to spend uninterrupted time with this one character?” explains Still. “I answered that with a resounding ‘yes’ when it came to all things Beard.” 


“I’ve been moved by his sense of being a performer and his desire to be famous,” says Still. “Mr. Beard loved the theater, loved the opera; his own flair as a unique performer was legendary. I Love to Eat celebrates all of that—right alongside his love of connecting with people and a love for good, fresh food, simply prepared.” 

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2012 JBF Awards Opening Video

We kicked off tonight's ceremony with the following video, which highlights how JBF has grown during its first 25 years. Take a stroll down memory lane and watch:


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How to Follow the Beard Awards on the Web

James Beard Awards medallion


Even if you won't be joining us at Lincoln Center tonight, you can still catch all of the excitement of the James Beard Awards online. Our star-studded Awards Gala, which starts at 6:00 P.M. sharp tonight, will be streamed live from Lincoln Center on our homepage and our awards section. We'll also live-blog the festivities right here, as well as announce the winners in real time on Twitter, using #jbfa for all Awards-related tweets. 


Click here for a recap of the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards, which took place on Friday night.

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Q & A with Dahlia Narvaez of Mozza

Dahlia Narvaez


Together with her mentor Nancy Silverton, pastry chef Dahlia Narvaez has crafted some of the most legendary desserts in the city of Los Angeles. We got in touch with the 2012 Outstanding Pastry Chef nominee to look back on how she joined the restaurant industry and find out which sweet on the Mozza menu is her favorite.


JBF: As a native of Los Angeles, did any of the food of your childhood inspire what you make now?


DH: I actually didn't grow up with a ton of homemade desserts. Dessert just wasn't something my mother made. But she did made good food, getting complex flavors out of simple ingredients.


JBF: We read that you once fudged your résumé and talked your way into your first professional kitchen, the Conga Room. Can you tell us a little more about that?


DH: That probably was not the smartest thing I've done for my career—after ten minutes on my first day, it was clear th... Read more >

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2012 JBF Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Recap


If you missed our live coverage of the 2012 JBF Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards, here's a quick recap:


2012 James Beard Foundation Book Awards
Presented by Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate
For cookbooks published in English in 2011.


Cookbook of the Year
Modernist Cuisine
by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet
(The Cooking Lab)


Cookbook Hall of Fame
Laurie Colwin
Home Cooking and More Home Cooking


American Cooking 
A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen
by Hugh Acheson
(Clarkson Potter)


Baking and Dessert
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
by Jeni Britton Bauer


Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, wi... Read more >

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On the Menu: Week of May 6


Here's what's going at JBF next week:


Monday, May 7, 6:00 P.M.
The 2012 JBF Awards Ceremony and Reception
Join host Alton Brown and the nation’s top chefs at the event that has become the social and gastronomic highlight of the year. All the chefs contributing to this year’s gala reception either knew or were inspired by James Beard and have selected a favorite recipe from one of his books to use as inspiration for their own dish. The menu is sure to be delicious, innovative, and fun. What better way to celebrate the James Beard Foundation’s anniversary and 25 years of food at its best?


Monday, May 7, 7:00 P.M.
Chef's Allen Reunion Dinner Party
In addition to being one of Florida’s most accomplished toques, Allen Susser has als... Read more >

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On Monday, the Empire State Building Will Glow Orange and Yellow for JBF

The Empire State Building shining orange and yellow for the James Beard Foundation


All those flashing camera bulbs on the red carpet won’t be the only things lighting up for this year’s Beard Awards.


On Monday, the day of the Awards gala, the iconic Empire State Building will beam orange and yellow, two colors that have special meaning for JBF. The walls of the Beard House were painted orange when James Beard resided there ("It's like living in a bowl of tomato soup," he would say), while yellow represents the pineapple, a symbol of hospitality and a motif in the Beard House décor during the Foundation’s early years. A framed piece of the old pineapple wallpaper now hangs in the Beard House vestibule, welcoming all guests.


Alton Brown, who is hosting Monday’s festivities at Lincoln Center, will flip the ceremonial switch for our Empire State Building illumination. If you’re in New York City on Monday evening, be sure to look up!

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Recipes from the Best of Best: Rick Bayless's Margaritas

Rick Bayless's recipe for margaritas


For Cinco de Mayo's indispensable boozy accessory, we're turning to margarita authority Rick Bayless, who won our Outstanding Chef award in 1995. When he's shaking up a round of his classic margaritas, Bayless favors the crystalline silver variety of tequila, which has a distinct but clean flavor that shines in mixed drinks. Get the recipe here. 




JBF has recently released The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs. This must-have book features delicious, signature recipes from every winner of the Foundation’s Outstanding Chef Award. When we went to press, space required that we omit some surplus essays and rec... Read more >

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JBF Kitchen Cam