James Beard Award Win

jamesbeardpicI really thought my life had peaked in April, when we won an IACP award for The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket, and ate the passion fruit posset at Cassia (talk about life-changing)and got to go to opening day of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, all in one surreal week. But then, a month later, I won a James Beard Award. Whaaaat?

The morning the nominations were announced, my best friend called, yelling, “I just heard your name on NPR! You’ve been nominated for a James Beard Award!” Like any normal person, I laughed and thought, what a weirdo, how sad that she’s going senile so young, and went back to whatever I was doing, probably picking chocolate crumbs out of my fake IKEA sheepskin desk chair cover, like I spend most of the day doing.

But it was true. The best team you could ever hope to be a part of, Team Eater, comprised of superstars Erin DeJesus, Danielle Centoni, Dina Avila, McGraw Wolfman, Stan Lee, and me, had been nominated for a James Beard Award for an interactive Eater piece we did, One Night at Kachka. Well, WOW.

Attending the awards ceremony was a good excuse to go to New York for a couple of days, so we did, and we ate very well, a few of the highlights being Pasquale Jones, Momofuku Nishi, Chelsea MarketRuss & Daughters, and Quality Eats.


Littleneck clam pizza with parsley, garlic, lemon and cream at Pasquale Jones.


The Clams Grand Lisboa with chow mein, oregano and cabbage at Momofuku Nishi.


The Lobster Place’s lobster roll.


The Lower Sunny Side at Russ & Daughters.


Chocolate malt ice cream with confetti cake and vanilla frosting at Quality Eats.

And then things got really crazy, because we went to the awards dinner, and we won. The amazing thing about winning a James Beard Award is that they not only give you a beautiful shiny medal, they also give you tons of free desserts, a crazy afterparty at a Chelsea Piers bowling alley, and free Bombas ankle socks. I am ashamed to admit that I got almost as excited when they let me have two pairs (not one) of free Bombas ankle socks as I did when we won the James Beard Award. I kind of have a thing about socks. 

Free socks not pictured.

Free socks not pictured.

I’ve always wondered where people keep their medals when they win. I remember reading something once about a chef who hung his in his restaurant’s bathroom. I keep mine on my desk, next to a jar of gummy bears and an Ava Gene’s gift card that I keep forgetting to use. I lovingly dust it (the medal, not the gift card) with a (clean) ankle sock every week, and unlike my desk chair cover, I keep it free of chocolate crumbs. I think James Beard would approve.