Tuesday, May 8, 2007

P.I. Critic Wins Beard Award

Seattle P-I restaurant critic Rebekah Denn has won a 2007 James Beard Foundation award. Denn, a P-I critic for the past 18 months, won the award for "Newspaper or Magazine Restaurant Review or Critique." "I'm so honored I just can't believe it," Denn said. The award ceremony was at the Hudson Theatre May 6 in New York City. The James Beard Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to celebrating America's culinary heritage. This is the 20th anniversary of the James Beard Foundation awards. Before becoming the P-I's restaurant critic Denn, was an award-winning Metro desk reporter, most recently having worked as the newspaper's education writer.

Chicago's Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Michel Richard of Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. was named Outstanding Chef at the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony. Hosted by CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm, the Beard Awards were held May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. More than 60 awards were presented by the country's pre-eminent nonprofit culinary organization, in its 20th anniversary celebration, and more than 1,600 industry leaders attended the ceremony. Other top awards went to: New York's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, named Best New Restaurant; Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca.) received the award for Outstanding Restaurateur; and David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York) received the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Celebrity and culinary superstar attendees included Stephanie March, Ted Allen, Katie Lee Joel, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi, and Marcus Samuelsson. The Foundation's Media Awards took place at a separate event at the Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway Hotel on May 6. All Award winners received a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard, the esteemed chef, cookbook author, and food journalist. There are no cash awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes outstanding achievement within the fine food and beverage industry in North America. For full awards results, please visit http://www.jamesbeard.org.

Beard Award highlights are:

AMERICA'S CLASSICS: Primanti Brothers, Demetrios Patrinos, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Pickwick, Christopher Wisocki, Duluth, Minn.; Doe's Eat Place, The Signa Family, Greenville, Miss.; Aunt Carrie's, Elsie Foy, Narragansett, R.I.; I

Brookville Hotel, Mark and Connie Martin, Abilene, Kan.; Weaver D's, Dexter Weaver, Athens, Ga.

BEST CHEF, GREAT LAKES: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago

BEST CHEF, MID-ATLANTIC: R.J. Cooper, III, Vidalia, Washington, DC

BEST CHEF, MIDWEST: Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

BEST CHEF, NEW YORK CITY: David Waltuck, Chanterelle, New York, NY

BEST CHEF, NORTHEAST: Frank McClelland, L'Espalier, Boston

BEST CHEF, NORTHWEST: John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

BEST CHEF, PACIFIC: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

BEST CHEF, SOUTH: Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

BEST CHEF, SOUTHEAST: Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST: Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.

BEST NEW RESTAURANT: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chef-Owner: Joël Robuchon, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING CHEF: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF: Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT: Frontera Grill, chef-owner: Rick and Deann Bayless, Chicago

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Rick Tramonto, Gale Gand, and Richard Melman, Tru, Chicago

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE: Mark Slater, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY

IN THE NEWS: Ever-active P-I critic Leslie Kelly awards four stars to chef Scott Carsberg's Lampreia, 2400 First Ave. Kelly also blurbs Capitol Hill's Dinette, 1514 E. Olive and the Seattle Art Museum's SAM Taste Restaurant, and (whew!) blogs La Medusa and reports that Scott Staples, Restaurant Zoe's chef/owner, and wife Heather plan to open a gastropub this fall on Capitol Hill, on the corner of 10th Avenue and East Pike Street. ... The P-I's Claudia Rowe reviews La Casa Del Mojito, 7545 Lake City Way N.E. ... The Seattle Times reviews: Tavolata, 2323 Second Ave. in Seattle; Ristorante Isabella, 27116 167th Place S.E. in Covington, and Szechuan 99, 6124 200th St. S.W. in Lynnwood. From The Times dining notes: "It's a homecoming at The Pink Door for chef Steve Smrstik. He's returned to head the kitchen at the restaurant in Pike Place Market after 20 years away working at a variety of eateries, including Manhattan's La Colombe d'Or and Café des Bruxelles." ... Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman reviews Can-Am Pizza and Inchin's Bamboo Garden, while Scott Seely looks at By's Drive-In and Stan's Drive-In, and Jess Thomson reviews the Hyatt's wine bar Twisted Cork. ... The Stranger provides a guide to eating outdoors, with area rooftop options, while also blurbing Lottie's Lounge (4900 Rainier Ave. S.) and noting the May 1 demise after 20 years in business of Rainbow Natural Grocery on Capitol Hill's 15th Avenue East.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

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