I 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 Market, Russ & Daughters, and 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.
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.