Publican Quality Bread’s Greg Wade was announced on Monday, May 6 as the 2019 recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Baker award. He was among many winners announced at the 2019 James Beard Awards Gala at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

Wade, whose Publican Quality Bread resides in Chicago, is a multiple-time nominee for the award. Under his leadership, the bakery crafts beautiful whole grain long fermented breads fresh daily. Publican Quality Bread is seen as a leader in the local grain movement.

Wade bakes his bread using only five high-quality, ethically sourced ingredients from Spence Farm, a biodynamic farm outside of Chicago. Using a natural sourdough starter containing wild yeasts and body-friendly bacteria, his bread is fermented for up to 60 hours. The hydrated dough breaks down the nutrient-blockers typically found in grains such as wheat, allowing the body to fully absorb all vitamins and minerals.

Following his win, Wade stressed the importance of working together to improve our food system. “We have one food system— for the 1%, for the 99%, for Democrats, for Republicans, for black lives matter, for blue lives matter. And we all have to start working together,” he said.

JBF Award winners will receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia, as well as the honor and prestige that come with the distinctions.

Other Outstanding Baker finalists were Zachary Golper of Bien Cuit in Brooklyn, Maura Kilpatrick of Sofra Bakery and Café in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Lisa Ludwinski of Sister Pie in Detroit, Michigan, and Avery Ruzicka of Manresa Bread in Los Gatos, California.

The following are other key awards handed out in this year’s James Beard Foundation awards:

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Kelly Fields, Willa Jean, New Orleans

Outstanding Chef

Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, NC

Outstanding Restaurant

Zahav, Philadelphia

Best New Restaurant

Frenchette, NYC

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Kwame Onwuachi, Kith and Kin, Washington, D.C.