The James Beard Foundation Awards has taken place in New York City for the last twenty-four years. With each passing year the Ceremony focuses on a theme. This year the Award Ceremony represented the connection between food & music.
Welcome introduction from the President, Susan Ungaro & the Board Chair, Emily Luchetti
“NO MATTER WHICH SONGS ABOUT FOOD are your favorites, we can all agree that great musicians and great chefs both have perfect pitch. Our national passion for good food, drink, and music is played out in every major city in America. That’s why this year’s Awards theme, Sounds of the City, highlights the harmony between food & music.
As many people now know, James Beard left his hometown of Portland, Oregon, for New York to make it big on Broadway or at the Metropolitan Opera. He did what many struggling actors and singers do: paid the rent by working in the food business. His side jobs–writing cookbooks and magazine articles, teaching cooking classes, appearing on television, and consulting on new restaurants–were the culinary world’s gain.
This weekend we present the 24th annual James Beard awards, honoring the best of the best at two great celebrations: the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards at Gotham Hall and the JBF Awards at Lincoln Center. Our hosts for both Awards events, James Beard Award winners Ted Allen, Mario Batali, Matt Lee, and Ted Lee, are the perfect conductors for our presentation of more than 60 awards. We’ve also arranged for a feast to follow the ceremony at Lincoln Center, tied to the musical passions of our reception chefs. You could say that the night will feature a musical menu of our chefs’ favorite foods and playlists. We think James Beard would have loved to cook and sing along.
Speaking of stars on stage, in the press, and in the kitchen, this weekend would not be possible without our sponsors, volunteer, and Awards Committees, board of trustees, talented Foundation staff–and you! The annual awards are just one important aspect of our mission to educate and inspire. Other highlights these past 12 months have included our annual JBF Food Conference and Leadership Awards, which honor visionaries who are making the world’s food system healthier, safer, and more sustainable. We are also proud of the fact that we’ve awarded over $4.6 million in financial aid to deserving culinary students.
As you enjoy this evening celebration and connect with new and old friends, let’s also remember those stars of our culinary world who are no longer with us, especially two chefs who won our most prestigious Outstanding Chef Award, Judy Rodgers and Charlie Totter. We believe that Judy and Charlie, who was named for Charlie Parker, would have appreciated this year’s theme. After all, they were both chefs who clearly hit all the right notes!”
Sounds-and Tastes-of the City
What to eat & listen to in music’s top towns:
New Orleans –> Jazz –> Gumbo
Nashville –> Country –> Hot Chicken
Seattle –> Alternate Rock –> Fair Trade cold brew with soy milk
NYC –> Hip Hop –> A magnum of Champagne
Austin –> Classic Rock –> Smoked brisket
Chicago –> R&B –> A mafia-esque rib-eye
Los Angeles –> Surf –> Fish Taco
San Francisco –> Indie Folk –> Fresh-churned almond butter
Memphis –> Soul –> Friend Okra