Countdown to the James Beard Awards

Today is Friday, and we are getting very, very excited. We are just two days away from the biggest foodie night in American – the James Beard Awards – and we are finally beginning to realize that the nomination for our book, The Story of Tea A Cultural History and Drinking Guide is REAL.

Bob is picking up his tuxedo today and my gown is pressed, steamed and neatly hung. I’ve checked to make sure that I know where our tickets are at least 50 times. I wear my high heels around the house a bit every day to break them in. Little by little, I think we are ready.

The red carpet at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in NYC will soon be lined with both cookbook authors and celebrity chefs dressed in uncharacteristic glittering in black-tie attire, as well as obsessed foodies for whom the admission price of $450.00 per ticket means a delicious evening to be experienced and savored.

Co-hosting this years event is Iron Chef Bobby Flay and Samantha ( oops… I mean actress Kim Cattrall ). The Awards Ceremony will begin at 6 PM and the Gala Reception will follow immediately at 9 PM. Our publisher, Ten Speed Press, is flying in from Berkeley to cheer on their flock of nominees and to host a pre-awards party.

The Ten Speed Press nominated books and authors are:

Cooking by James Peterson; Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart; The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; The Seventh Daughter by Cecilia Chang with Lisa Weiss; The Story of Tea by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss; Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.

And the Ten Speed nominated chef/cookbook writers are:

Grant Achatz, Alinea; Nancy Oakes, Boulevard; Marc Vetri, Osteria; Nate Appleman, A16; Terra; Mark Vetri,Vetri; Marciel Presilla, Cucharamama.

This year’s nominated cookbook authors represent a diverse pool of talent, food specialties and interests. I am thrilled to have the chance to meet James Villas, who has been one of my favorite food writers since his days as the bon vivant food editor of Town & Country magazine. And also Fuchsia Dunlop, a gifted English writer and chronicleer who portrays regional Chinese culture and cuisine with very vivid strokes of her pen and colorful first-hand experiences.

Oh yes….and also Chef Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama, who is nominated in the Best Chef/ Mid-Atlantic category. Several years ago Maricel wrote a gorgeous book titled: The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes, which I treasure ( it is one of the only books that I own 3 copies of ! )

The James Beard Foundation has announced that they have lined-up a team of guest bloggers who will be reporting up-to-the-minute updates on all of the action. From red carpet surprises and winner reactions to news of late-night parties, these bloggers will bring the festivities to you. Check the James Beard website – during the evening of June 8th for constant awards coverage.

The theme of this years 2008 James Beard Foundation Awards is Artisanal America: The Craft of Cuisine. The chefs cooking at this year’s Gala Reception have been selected for their committment to America’s culinary artisans. Each chef will highlight an American food artisan and use their ingredients in the dish they will be serving at the event. Together, these chefs and culinary artisans and their local, seasonal, and sustainable approach to food represent the true craft of American Cuisine. What a dream team:

M. J. Adams, The Corn Exchange, Rapid City, SD

Jaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu, La Casita Mexicana, Bell, CA

Larry Forgione and Josh Galliano, An American Place, St. Louis, MO

Carmen Gonzalez, Rums of Puerto Rico

Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Butter, NYC

Sam Hayward, Fore Street, Portland, ME

Greg Higgins, Higgins Restaurant, Portland, OR

Peter Hoffman, Savoy, NYC

Melissa Kelly and Kathleen Blake, Primo Maine, Rockland, ME

Helene Kennan, The Restaurant at the Getty Center, LA

Stephanie Pearl Kimmel, Marche, Eugene, OR

Mourad Lahlou, Aziza, San Francisco

Barbara Lynch, No. 9 Park, Boston, MA

Tory Miller, L’Etoile, Madison, WI

Michel Nischan, Dressing Room, A Homegrown Restaurant, Westport, CT

Cindy Pawlcyn, Mustards Grill, Yountville, CA

Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, GA

Cal Peternell, Chez Panisse Cafe, Berkeley, CA

Nora Pouillon, Restaurant Nora, Washington, DC

Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama, Hoboken, NJ

Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison, Bacchanalia, Atlanta, Ga


Marco Shaw, Fife, Portland, OR

Bruce Sherman, North Pond, Chicago, IL

Nancy Silverton, Osteria Mozza, LA

Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, MA

Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris Prarie Grass Cafe, Northbrook, IL

Mark Sullivan, Spruce, San Francisco

Bill Telepan, Telepan, NYC

Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia, PA

Eric Warnstedt and Craig Tresser, Hen of the Wood, Waterbury, VT

Cathy Whims, Nostrana, Portland, OR

Eric Ziebold, CityZen at Mandarin Oriental, Washington, DC



We will have more to report after the Awards are announced. Wish us luck ! For more details, visit:







3 thoughts on “Countdown to the James Beard Awards

  1. Deat MJ Adams,

    Sorry for the goof ! I am sure I took all of this info from the James Beard House info. Thanks for the clarification – I fixed it in the text.

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