James Beard Nominees

May 3, 2012 | By | Comments (0)

James Beard Award Winners in 56 categories (like Best Chef, Best New Restaurant, and Best American Cookbook) will be announced on Monday, May 7th at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. Go to jamesbeard.org to purchase tickets. If you can’t attend, check in on the live stream, broadcast from the website, or follow announcements on twitter @beardfounation or from our own Features Editor, Jennifer Cole @jennifervcole. In the meantime, we caught up with some of our Southern nominees to get a sense of their unique history and tastes. Join us in wishing our tastemakers all the best!

JustinLaPetite
Photo: Courtesy of La Petite Grocery

Justin Devillier
La Petite Grocery
New Orleans, LA
Best Chef Nominee (South)

What is your favorite cookbook?
I can’t pinpoint one in particular but I have always been inspired by James Peterson and Paula Wolfert. I was blown away the first time I read through The French Laundry Cookbook. These days I am reading a lot of single subject books like The River Cottage Meat Book. At the moment, I’m reading The Art Of Living According To Joe Beef.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
It was a meal I ate last fall during The Chefs Table dinner on Monday nights at Trattoria Lucca in Charleston, SC. I love the way the kitchen cooks with a feeling of spontaneity. No menus. Just order a bottle of wine and eat your way through a fantastic Italian inspired meal with fresh Lowcountry ingredients.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
Tagliatelle With Gulf Shrimp And Field Peas. This dish relies on some classic techniques with the beurre monté and the hand made pasta, and it also has nice subtle Southern flavors with the shrimp and fresh peas. It is finished with a little lemon juice, fresh oregano, and piave vecchio. I feel like it’s a nice representation of what we are trying to do.

ToryMcPhailHeadshot
Photo: Courtesy of Commander’s Palace

Tory McPhail
Commander’s Palace
New Orleans, LA
Best Chef Nominee (South)

What is your favorite cookbook?
Right now it is Happy in the Kitchen by Michel Richard.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
Dinner at McCrady’s in Charleston.  I love what Sean Brock is doing—he’s a friend, and a very inspiring chef.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
This past weekend I spent an entire Saturday breaking down a whole pig.  The meal was a Louisiana hog done six different ways including two different sausages, pork belly, a sauce made out of the trotters, and fresh pork cracklins’.  Everything about that meal was harvested from a local farm, Covey Rise—all sustainable and natural. I turned off my phone, didn’t check my email, and just broke down this pig all day long. It was basically honoring the Louisiana hand craftsmanship taken to get this state to where it is.  I believe Louisiana has the best regional food in the nation. The history goes back 250 years with influences from France, Spain Africa, and Mexico.  It was the original melting pot.  I really wanted to embrace that am always working towards redefining and revitalizing New Orleans cuisine.

JohnHarrisLilette
Photo: Courtesy of Lilette

John Harris
Lilette
New Orleans, LA
Best Chef Nominee (South)

What is your favorite cookbook?
I wouldn’t say I’ve used a cookbook in the last five years.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
I brought my management staff to Daniel where we spent obscene amount of money on exquisite wine and food worth every penny. Seeing an operation where no detail—no matter how small—is overlooked always inspires me to a higher standard at my restaurant and bar.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?  Roasted Poulet breast with brussel sprouts, balsamic onions, and mushroom vinaigrette. It’s an unassuming dish that surprises—it even makes my children eat brussel sprouts. It’s French in style, but light with a good use of vinegar and olive oil (of which we use in copious amounts at Lilette).

AlonDomenica
Photo: Courtesy of Domenica

Alon Shaya
Domenica
New Orleans
Best Chef Nominee (South)

What is your favorite cookbook?
My favorite cookbook is Marc Vetri’s, Il Viaggio. Marc is like a big brother to me and he helped me get set up on my apprenticeship Italy. He happened to be on the same flight I was on, and was generous and kind enough to drive me to the first restaurant I worked at outside of Bergamo. When I read his book all of those great memories that I cherish from my time in Italy come rushing back. It not only inspires me to  continue cooking the great foods I fell in love with from Lombardia, but it also solidifies my feelings of how important it is to share your passion with the people around you.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
The most inspiring meal I ate was at a restaurant called La Bombeta in Barcelona, Spain. I was on my honeymoon with my beautiful wife Emily, and we stumbled upon this casual family restaurant. It was one of our first meals in Spain and I had no idea what to expect. We were actually on our way to another restaurant for lunch but as we walked by La Bombeta we felt drawn in. There was energy—all locals on their lunch breaks—and the place had a line out the door. We ate bombas (potato croquettes with aioli and spicy pepper), morcilla (the best blood sausage I have ever had), and pan a la Catalana (toasted bread rubbed with fresh tomato, garlic and topped with jamon Iberico). Every bite blew me away. I wasn’t expecting to have one of the best meals of my life walking in there, but all of the most important factors to a great meal were playing their roles. I was with someone I love. The food was honest, local, and simple, and there was a grandmother in the kitchen. (Seriously.)

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
The wood roasted goat shakshouka. I’m Israeli and love cooking the foods of my heritage. The dish also embraces the Italians’ love for roasted goat and stewed tomatoes, as well as seasonal vegetables. There’s an egg with a runny yolk. I source the goat from a friend Bill Ryals who raises them in Tylertown, Mississippi. I get to cook it in a wood burning oven. All of these things together. If I was to be reincarnated as a dish, it would be this one.

Colbybluestem
Photo: Courtesy of bluestem

Colby Garrelts
Bluestem
Kansas City, MO
Best Chef Nominee (Midwest) 

What is your favorite cookbook?
So much for humility… It’s mine, bluestem the cookbook. Actually there are several cookbooks that have influenced me over the years including those by Charlie Trotter, Larousse Gastronomique, and Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
I had a rabbit dish from Kansas City chef, Howard Hannah, at his restaurant, The Rieger Hotel. The rabbit, from Rare Hare Barn, was braised in red wine with bacon and served with late winter greens. The dish was just so well prepared and the ingredients were exceptional.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
I think I have one dish every season that really defines my cooking style. For instance, this spring I will have a Lightly Poached Trout with late spring pistou. My style is to prepare dishes that are fresh, clean and with bright flavors.

003_gerard_craft_2(2)(1)
Photo: Courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide

Gerard Craft
Niche
St. Louis, MO
Best Chef Nominee (Midwest)

What is your favorite cookbook?
That’s a hard question! The cookbook I was almost raised on is The French Laundry Cookbook. I know that many say that but I really believe it was one of the inspiring cookbooks of my generation of chefs.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
It’s really hard to choose just one meal, but on a recent research trip to Italy (for Pastaria opening in August), we had an inspiring and unexpected meal Al Pont de Ferr in Milan. It looks like a total rustic Osteria outside but once you step inside, the food it totally outside of the box —playful and unique.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
While our menu changes frequently with the seasons, my favorite dish right now on our menu is the Carrots Three Ways. I think it just represents us at Niche, and overall what I think Missouri is all about. It’s simple and high quality. It just shows that even with humble ingredients such as the carrot, you can elevate it to a fine dining experience when it’s looked at slightly outside the box. For this dish, we use roasted baby carrots, pickled thumbelina carrots, full grown braised carrots and then finish the dish with a dehydrated espelette carrot cake and a bit of yogurt, fennel pollen and dill.

CathalRestEve
Photo: Courtesy of Restaurant Eve

Cathal Armstrong
Restaurant Eve
Alexandria, VA
Best Chef Nominee (Mid-Atlantic)

What is your favorite cookbook?
My favorite cookbook is Cooking with Jaques and Julia where Jaques Pepin and Julia Child wrote a very personal note on the inside when I cooked for them.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
Roasted Leg of Donegal lamb with potato gratin and spring garlic from my dad’s garden in his house at Donegal in Ireland.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
Pan Fried Veal Sweetbreads with Morels and Virginia Asparagus. Sweetbreads is one of my favorite things to cook, I love the combination of asparagus, especially from Virginia when it is in season.

Vikram
Photo: Courtesy of Heather Freeman PR

Vikram Sunderam
Rasika
Washington DC
Best Chef Nominee (Mid-Atlantic)

What is your favorite cookbook?
Among the numerous cookbooks I have on Indian cuisine, perhaps my most favorite are Prashad by Jiggs Kalra and The Masala Art by Chef Hemant Oberoi.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
The best meal was Spaghetti Al Nero Di Seppia  (black spaghetti, Louisiana jumbo lump crab, ‘aglio, olio e peperoncino’), eaten at Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, in Washington DC.  The dish is a good balance of interesting flavors with the squid ink pasta, the sweetness of the crab, and the spice of the chilies.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why? Palak Chaat.  It is our version of the Indian Fritter.  It is very light and crispy. The tangy date and tamarind chutney, the sweet yoghurt, and the different spices in the dish enhance your taste buds and make it a great start to your meal.  It is one of our most popular dishes.

HughFiveandTEn
Photo: Courtesy of Five and Ten

Hugh Acheson
Five and Ten
Athens, GA
Best Chef Nominee (Southeast)

What is your favorite cookbook?
John Egerton’s Southern Food.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston, SC. I had a sweetbreads dish that was great, but the whole place is just about people trying hard everyday to do great food. Very fun.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
Fennel stuffed trout with rice & beans and hot sauce vinaigrette… it shows the purity of Southern food in the light that I want it seen in.

EdwardLeec:oEdward
Photo: Courtesy of Edward Lee

Edward Lee
610 Magnolia
Louisville, KY
Best Chef Nominee (Southeast)

What is your favorite cookbook?
White Heat by Marco Pierre White. It was one of the first cookbooks that I bought, and it really changed the landscape of what a cookbook could be.  It took a risk and it inspired a lot of young chefs both in England and abroad.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
At Publican in Chicago, everything there is so deceptively simple but once you really dig into it, you realize that it is mind blowing, especially the corned beef heart.  It makes me think how to really elevate simple organ meats into an agricultural experience.  Paul is a master at that and it always humbles me when I eat at any of his restaurants.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
I’m partial to my Black BBQ Beef Short Ribs with Edamame Hummus and Cilantro Pudding. It’s where I take southern traditions and add a little something of my roots to it.  It feels like it came from somewhere in the past and somewhere in the present.  I’m happy with this one.

PaulQuiUchiki
Photo: Courtesy of Uchiko

Paul Qui
Uchiko
Austin, TX
Best Chef Nominee (Southwest)

What is your favorite cookbook?
My favorite cookbook is the Michel Bras book.  The simplicity of his food and beauty of his plates has always inspired me.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
My favorite meal this year was at Gramercy Tavern.  It’s been one of my favorite places to eat when I visit NYC since I started my culinary career and it’s never disappointed.  My favorite dish that meal was the smoked trout with pickled onions.

Which item on the menu of your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
The dish on my menu that is most reflecting of my style is my grilled pork jowl with Asian pear and brussels sprout kimchee.  It blends elements of sweet, sour, spicy, salty, bitter, and umami, combined with contrasting textures and temperatures.

Brucec:oBiga
Photo: Courtesy of Biga on the Banks

Bruce Auden
Biga on the Banks
San Antonio, TX
Best Chef Nominee (Southwest)

What is your favorite cookbook?
The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
This year! I don’t think I’ve left the restaurant this year yet to go out to eat.

Which item on the menu of your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
Lightly smoked mushrooms served sizzling on a comal as a family style appetizer, because it is a great way to start a meal with friends or others you don’t yet know well, because it’s very unpretentious.

Hedyc:oHedy
Photo: Courtesy of Hedy Goldsmith

Hedy Goldsmith
Michael’s Genunie Food & Drink
Miami, FL
Outstanding Pastry Chef Nominee

What is your favorite cookbook?
My favorite cookbook is Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin. I love it because it speaks about family dinners in a sophisticated and approachable way that’s all about seasonality and letting the ingredients speak for themselves. It’s also timeless.

What was the most inspiring meal you’ve eaten this year?
I will go back time and time again to Son Of A Gun in LA for their Shrimp Toast. Jon and Vinny created this dish that evokes early memories of a familiar favorite from my childhood that’s been elevated from simple flavors to a sessional dish.

Which meal at your restaurant best defines your style of cooking and why?
I’d say Popcorn and Peanuts defines my style the best. It’s a milk chocolate and caramel peanut butter bar served with buttered popcorn gelato, popcorn and peanut bark and caramelized cocoa nibs. The dessert combines salty and sweet, crunchy and creamy, buttery and chocolate flavors. It’s playful and reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.

 

 

 

COMMENTS

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s