Young and Hungry

D.C. Rakes in the Noms for 2009 James Beard Awards

The nominees for the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards were announced this morning, and the big local winners were the Washington Post and José Andrés with three noms each.

Technically, I guess you could say that Andrés, aside from nods for best new restaurant, outstanding chef, and web/radio, shared a fourth nomination, too. His boffo new Los Angeles restaurant, The Bazaar, also earned one for best design.

The Post's Tom Sietsema racked up a pair of nominations, one for his Sunday magazine feature about noisy dining rooms and one for his restaurant criticism. Sietsema submitted three reviews to earn the latter nomination: Great Expectations (3/2/2008), Robo Restaurant (6/1/2008), and An Earned Exclamation (7/20/2008). In the review category, Sietsema will be competing against Adam Platt from New York magazine and LA Weekly's Jonathan Gold, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his criticism in 2007.

"I'm humbled by the nominees in the criticism category in particular," e-mailed Sietsema, who's been nominated twice before. "I mean, Johnathan Gold [sic] was the first food writer to win a Pulitzer for his reviews! And I love Platt's prose in New York magazine. Most of all, I was pleased to see all the Washington chef talent on the Beard list. Those guys all work very hard and deserve the kudos that have come their way."

The Post also earned a nomination in the food section category. It's the first nod for editor Joe Yonan.

Three local toques were nominated in the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category—Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve, The Majestic, and Eamonn's a Dublin Chipper), Peter Pastan (Obelisk and 2Amys), and Vikram Sunderam (Rasika).

Sunderam's nod represents the first time a chef in Ashok Bajaj's restaurant empire (Bombay Club, 701, Ardeo/Bardeo, and Oval Room) has been nominated for a Beard award. The owner naturally was thrilled with the news, though he says he and his chef won't be celebrating tonight. "Maybe on the weekend, absolutely," Bajaj says.

Does Bajaj think Sunderam can win the category? "Making a short list is fine," he says. "For me, that's as good as winning."

And lastly, Komi's Johnny Monis was nominated as a Rising Star, though Y&H thinks he may need to move to the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category soon. He's hardly rising anymore. He's arrived.

Y&H offers his congratulations to all the local nominees.

Winners will be announced May 3 and 4 in New York City. The full list of nominees can be found on the Beard Awards Web site. Below are the list of local nominees and what categories they are nominated in:

  • The Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic nominees are: Cathal Armstrong, Jose Garces, Peter Pastan, Maricel Presilla, and Vikram Sunderam
  • The Rising Star: Nate Appleman, Sean Brock, Johnny Monis, Gabriel Rucker, Michael Solomonov, and Sue Zemanick
  • Best New Restaurant: The Bazaar by José Andrés, Corton, L2O, Momofuku Ko, and Scarpetta
  • Nominees for Outstanding Chef: José Andrés, Dan Barber, Tom Colicchio, Suzanne Goin, and Paul Kahan
  • Newspaper feature about restaurants and/or chefs: Monica Eng/Phil Vettel (Chicago Tribune), Katy McLaughlin (Wall Street Journal), Tom Sietsema (Washington Post)
  • Newspaper food section: Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and Washington Post
  • Restaurant reviews: Jonathan Gold (LA Weekly), Adam Platt (New York magazine), and Tom Sietsema (Washington Post)
  • Web/Radio: Living Today (MSL Radio): José Andrés; Graperadio.com: Thomas Jefferson & Wine; Leonard Lopate (WNYC): 3-Ingredient Challenge
  • Restaurant design: Thomas Schlesser (Publican), Thomas Schlesser (Bar Boulud),and Philippe Starck/Bruno Barrione/Theresa Fatino (The Bazaar)
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