Did the James Beard Foundation voters pay attention to the Time magazine controversy? After that publication projected a pantheon of Gods of Food that was distinctively all-male, almost half of the first-round nominees for outstanding chef in the 2014 JBF awards are women.
And though several of them come from the West Coast -- long friendlier to women chefs than elsewhere -- this list is truly national in scope.
Los Angeles’ longtime heroes Suzanne Goin and Nancy Silverton were joined by the Bay Area’s Nancy Oakes (Boulevard), New York’s Gabrielle Hamilton (Prune), Chicago’s Carrie Nahabedian (Naha), Hoboken’s Maricel Presilla (Cucharamama), Atlanta’s Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia), and Cambridge, Mass.’ Ana Sortun (Oleana).
That’s eight of the 20 nominees.
Things are almost as good when it comes to outstanding restaurateur, where seven of the 20 are women. Los Angeles’ Caroline Styne (Lucques, etc.) is joined by New Orleans’ JoAnn Clevenger, Boston’s Barbara Lynch, Napa Valley’s Cindy Pawlcyn, Philadelphia’s Marcie Turner and Valerie Safran, and Seattle’s Ann Yoder (nominated with her husband Rick).
The final nominees will be announced March 18 and the awards will be presented at the annual James Beard Foundation Ceremony and Gala Reception May 5 at Lincoln Center in New York.
Other Southern California chefs and restaurants nominated include: Chi Spacca, Trois Mec and Connie and Ted’s for best new restaurant; Rivera and the Varnish for best bar program; Mozza’s Dahlia Narvaez for best pastry chef; Melisse for outstanding restaurant; Lucques and Providence for outstanding service; Spago for outstanding wine program; Corazon y Miel's Eduardo Ruiz, Alma’s Ari Taymor and Tasting Kitchen’s Casey Lane for rising star chef; Baco Mercat’s Josef Centeno, Providence’s Michael Cimarusti, Trois Mec’s Ludo Lefebvre, n/naka’s Niki Nakayama, MB Post's David LeFevre, Rivera’s John Rivera Sedlar, and Picca’s Ricardo Zarate for best chef in the West. UPDATED: MB Post's David LeFevre and Corazon y Miel's Eduardo Ruiz were omitted from the rising star chef list in the original article.
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