New York City’s stars of baking and pastry lit up the stage at The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception, which took place Monday, May 4, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Christina Tosi of New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar won Outstanding Pastry Chef, and Jim Lahey of New York's Sullivan Street Bakery won Outstanding Baker, in the first year that James Beard Foundation has honored an Outstanding Baker.
The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception, hosted by Alton Brown, set the stage for the year’s biggest night in culinary awards, which included Best Restaurant and Best Chef for multiple regions of the country.
In October 2000, Lahey built the Sullivan St Bakery headquarters in Hell’s Kitchen, where he has become renowned not just for his bread, but for his Roman-style pizza, rustic Italian pastries and cookies. Then, in 2009, he opened the doors to Co., his first pizza restaurant. Located in Chelsea, Lahey put his own spin on pizza while celebrating artisanal food culture and communal dining. The name is short for Company, a word whose Latin roots refer to the phrase “with bread,” of course.
Lahey and his businesses have been featured in Vogue, Bon Appétit and The New York Times, and he has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show and NBC’s Today show. His innovative no-knead bread recipe that ignited a worldwide home-baking revolution was first published in an article by Mark Bittman in The New York Times in 2006. This article became the basis of Lahey’s first cookbook My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, and My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home. Lahey expanded his footprint in New York City in July 2012 with the opening of Sullivan Street Bakery’s second outpost in Chelsea, just a few doors from Co. In 2014, My Bread was translated into Italian and Taiwanese.
Momofuku Milk Bar is the bakery-inspired dessert branch of the Momofuku (which means lucky peach) restaurant group, founded by superstar chef David Chang. Since its opening in November 2008, Milk Bar has focused on putting a playfully American, approachable spin on familiar home-style desserts and savory snacks using quality ingredients and locally-sourced dairy. Popular items include cereal milk ice cream, their famous compost cookies (which contain such ingredients as potato chips, pretzels and coffee), and crack pie. Milk Bar has a total of six locations, including an international location in Toronto, Canada, which opened in July 2013.
Tosi has mixed up quite a recipe for success throughout her profession. She runs what Bon Appetit magazine calls “one of the most exciting bakeries in the country.” As founder of the dessert program at Momofuku, Christina got her start helping Momofuku Ko earn two stars from the Michelin Guide and Momofuku Ssäm jump onto restaurant magazine’s top 100 restaurants in the world list. She is the 2012 recipient of the James Beard Rising Star Chef award and a finalist for the 2014 James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award.
Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program.
All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.
Best New Restaurant, Presented by True Refrigeration®
Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC
Outstanding Bar Program, Presented by Tanqueray No. TEN®
The Violet Hour, Chicago
Outstanding Chef, Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters
Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Christina Tosi, Momofuku, NYC
Outstanding Restaurant, Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY
Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)
Outstanding Service, Presented by Goose Island Beer Company
The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
Outstanding Wine Program
A16, San Francisco
Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional, Presented by BACARDÍ® GRAN RESERVA
Rajat Parr, Mina Group, San Francisco
Rising Star Chef of the Year, Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
Best Chef: Great Lakes
Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore
Best Chef: Midwest
Gerard Craft, Niche, Clayton, MO
Best Chef: Northeast
Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA
Best Chef: Northwest
Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, WA
Best Chef: NYC
Mark Ladner, Del Posto
Best Chef: South
Alon Shaya, Domenica, New Orleans
Best Chef: Southeast
Jason Stanhope, FIG, Charleston, SC
Best Chef: Southwest
Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, Austin
Best Chef: West
Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco