The James Beard Foundation Awards and Gala Reception make their way to Chicago Monday, marking the first time the ceremony hasn’t been in New York City.
The prestigious food awards ceremony, known to some as “the Oscars of the food world,” kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and will honor the nation’s best chefs and restaurants.
The James Beard awards have always been held in New York since the event began in 1990. Beard, considered the dean of American cooking, died in 1985.
Several cities had sought to host the awards, but the foundation said Chicago's offer of marketing and sponsorship support was too good to turn down. The president of the event has since announced plans to keep the ceremony in the Windy City in 2016 and 2017.
“Chicago has a rich history with the Foundation, delivering restaurant and chef winners 23 out of 24 years with more than 40 James Beard Award winners to date," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "We are so proud to be welcoming this most prestigious of events for two more years.”
A number of locals were announced this year as nominees in 59 categories, including Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design, and Book, Broadcast and Journalism.