Carol Blymire to Live Blog the Beard Awards
Blymire representin' with the Wienermobile
Y&H has made no secret of his affection for Carol Blymire's Alinea at Home blog, in which the self-described "single chick in a broke-ass kitchen with no culinary training" cooks her way through one of the most complicated cookbooks on earth. For fun, no less.
I'm not the only one who has taken a liking to Blymire's style. The James Beard Foundation recently came calling. The Takoma Park resident is scheduled to live blog the Beard Awards ceremony on Monday night. Blymire took a few minutes to answer a handful of questions about her upcoming turn in the JBF spotlight.
Young & Hungry: How did you get the gig?
Carol Blymire: I got an e-mail a few weeks ago from one of the lovely ladies at the James Beard Foundation who reads my blog and who hoped I'd be able to contribute my own unique perspective on the awards ceremony. I nearly fell out of my chair, because it was so out of the blue and such an honor to be asked. I can't wait to do it. It'll be great to be in the presence of some of the people I admire most in this world. Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz are presenting, so I'm excited to see them again, along with so many others who inspire cooks and writers like me to do what we do.
Y&H: Will you be interviewing people or just offering your insights and opinions?
CB: I'll be interviewing people as well as offering my observations, thoughts, and insights on nominees, winners, and the general goings-on that night. The Foundation will have their web site editors in the press room checking out the content (they're smart, these Beard Foundation people), so I'm excited to see how it will all come together. I just hope they let me talk about how hot I think David Chang is. 'Cause that won't get old at all.
Y&H: Will you feel the need to assume an institutional JBF voice?
CB: The great thing about this is that they've asked me to contribute based on who I am and how I write, not because they wanted a ghostwriter. I'm sure there will be editorial standards I'll need to adhere to, but that's fine with me. I mean, I was really pushing to Glee-i-fy my participation by doing all my updates via reworked '80s song-and-dance numbers with all the chef winners doing backup vocals and dramatic arm gestures, but I guess I'll just be writing. In my own, slightly edited, non-jazz hands voice.
Y&H: Are you already thinking of clever things to say about the celebrity chefs?
CB: Let's just say I've been doing my research and I'll be the nerd with the notecards. Hmmmmm... what rhymes with Cathal.....?
Y&H: Do you plan to do such a bang-up job that they will nominate you in the blog category next year?
CB: Actually, I'm hoping I can get nominated on the merits of my own blog, Alinea at Home, next year. I mean, Alinea was just named the best restaurant in the U.S., my food truck April Fool's Day post pissed off a record number of people who actually showed up for the food truck's arrival in their city, and for a single chick in a broke-ass kitchen with no culinary training to be able to pull off avant-garde cooking is something I'm pretty damn proud of. So, I'm planning to up the number of dishes I do from the book over the next few months, and increase the number of fart jokes I incorporate into each post. I'll be a shoo-in.
Y&H: What does one wear at a gala while live blogging?
CB: The people at Asprey and Garrard haven't returned my calls, so I guess the tiara is out. Bugger! I'm thinking: black dress, hot shoes, smoky eyeliner, and my laptop. Unless the good folks at Apple wanna send me an iPad to use for the gig. (Call me, Steve Jobs! xoxo) But hey, wait a minute... thanks a lot for making me have a bit of a fashion panic, because I wasn't even thinking about that until you asked. Thanks a lot. What are YOU wearing, Carman? Huh? [Ed: Carman plans to rent something from the Snoop line.]
Y&H: Do you plan to root for particular people (as in your D.C. buds) or keep an objective voice?
CB: I don't think it's any secret that I'm rooting for Alinea in the Outstanding Service category. And, Bibou in Philadelphia (Best New Restaurant) has a great story — those guys started that place with something like $30,000 and a dream. When I look at the entire nominee list, it's just so amazing to see so many deserving chefs from every region and every discipline. But here's the thing: I've lived in this city nearly 25 years and absolutely love how the food scene has evolved in that time. I'm proud of our DC nominees, and hope I can hug Amanda Cook in the winner's circle because she is amazing at what she does and so deserves this nomination. It'd be great to see Johnny Monis (Rising Star) and Jose Andres (Outstanding Chef) with medals around their necks, too. And, to have three DC folks in the Mid-Atlantic Best Chef category is fantastic. I'd be thrilled if Cathal [Armstrong of Restaurant Eve], Bryan [Voltaggio of Volt], or Peter [Pastan of Obelisk] brought home the prize. And, while I'm not live-blogging the media and book awards the night before, it can't go without saying that I'm pulling for The Washington Post, Kojo, and you, as well as Ad Hoc at Home and the Momofuku cookbook.
Photo by Catherine Gelera