It's no secret that Chicago's culinary star has been on the rise for years now. The Publican? Alinea? L20? As they would say in New York, fuhgedaboutit. Well, as they also say in New York, it's all about them. The James Beard Foundation, based in -- surprise, surprise -- Manhattan, is apparently made up of a bunch of Chicago haters, as proven at last night's scam, we mean annual awards ceremony, which honors professionals working in the culinary and beverage industries.
The 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards went down at Lincoln Center last night, and, boy, was it a bloodbath. Seriously, they should have called it by slaughter rule. New York walked away with nearly every major award -- aside from Rising Star Chef of the Year, which went to Nate Appleman of A16 restaurant in San Francisco (California in the house!). Chicago was snubbed in almost every category, including the Best Chef: Great Lakes honor, usually a dead lock for the Chi, which this year went to Michael Symon of Cleveland's Lola restaurant. Cleveland? You've got to be kidding us, Beardies.
Of all of our high-profile nominees, including such restaurant industry luminaries as Rich Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (for outstanding restaurateur), Paul Kahan of Blackbird and The Publican (outstanding chef), Bin 36 (wine service) and L20 (best new restaurant), all got upstaged. Guess who swept all of those categories? That's right, New Yorkers. Ouch.
Chicago did walk away with two honors (kind of): The award for outstanding restaurant design went to Design Bureaux, a New York firm that worked on The Publican, and the Cooking from a Professional Point of View writing award was won by "Alinea," a cookbook by chef Grant Achatz.
Chicago will be looking for payback next year. James Beard Foundation, you've been warned.