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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How the Bay Area Fared at James Beard Restaurant Awards

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Douglas Keane
  • Douglas Keane
Douglas Keane of Cyrus Surprise Winner for Best Chef, Pacific, and Nate Appleman's Third Time is Charm as He Wins Best Rising Star Chef

At last night's James Beard Awards, in something of an upset, Douglas Keane of Cyrus in Healdsburg won Best Chef, Pacific, over fellow nominees Jeremy Fox (Ubuntu, Napa), Loretta Keller (Coco 500, San Francisco), David Kinch (Manresa, Los Gatos), and Daniel Patterson (Coi, San Francisco). Most of the nominees, all of whom we spoke to last week, thought that Kinch would win -- Keane himself said "I think David may be the best chef in the country." 

Keane (and Kinch) had previously been nominated in 2008, losing to Craig Stoll of SF's Delfina, and in 2007, Keane was also a nominee, losing to Traci Des Jardins of SF's Jardiniere, who presented Keane with his award tonight.

As Nate Appleman of A-16 and SPQR correctly told us last week, his third consecutive nomination for Best Rising Star Chef ("a chef 30 years or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant influence on the industry in years to come) proved to be his year: he won over a crowded field of five other chefs cooking in Charleston, S.C., Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. 

Alas, SF's Boulevard, nominated five years in a row for Outstanding Restaurant, lost to New York's Jean-Georges.

As previously announced, Boulevard's downtown neighbor, Yank Sing, the venerable and popular dim sum palace, was added to the Beard's roster of America's Classics, as one of "America's small, regional restaurants, watering holes, shacks, lunch counters, and similar down-home eateries that have carved out a special place on the American landscape." 

UC Berkeley's professor of journalism (and previous winner of a Beard award in 2006 for The Omnivore's DilemmaMichael Pollan won in the Writing and Literature category for In Defense of Food.

To see Beard's official videos of red carpet interviews with chefs,and excerpts from acceptance speeches, go here; and here's a link to all the Beard awards.

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Meredith Brody


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