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Sherry Yard among six to be inducted into James Beard hall of fame

Sherry Yard among six to be inducted into James Beard hall of fame
Pastry chef Sherry Yard, right, and Spago pastry chef Della Gossett prepare a dessert in preparation for the post-Oscars Governor's Ball in 2013. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Former Spago and future Helms Bakery pastry chef Sherry Yard will be among the new inductees into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America, the hall of fame of the culinary world.

Other honorees include writers Edward Behr and Barry Estabrook and chefs Paul Kahan, David Chang and John Besh.

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The group will be inducted at the foundation’s annual awards ceremony, held this year May 5 at Lincoln Center in New York.

Yard was the executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire for almost 20 years, until she left last year to begin preparing the soon-to-open Helms Bakery with Father's Office and Lukshon chef Sang Yoon. Yard is also the author of three cookbooks, including “The Secrets of Baking”, which was named best pastry book by the Beard awards in 2003.

Louisiana chef Besh runs nine restaurants, including the flagship August in New Orleans; he has written three cookbooks.

Chang is the chef at Momofuku restaurant, which has outlets in New York, Sydney and Toronto, as well as six other Momofuku spinoffs in New York; he also co-publishes the highly regarded quarterly Lucky Peach.

Kahan has been described as the Alice Waters of the Midwest. His Chicago restaurants, which focus on locally grown seasonal ingredients, include Blackbird, Avec, the Publican, Big Star, Publican Quality Meats  and, most recently, Nico Osteria.

Behr is the publisher of the long-running Art of Eating newsletter. Since 1986 it has focused on traditional food and cooking, emphasizing the connection between taste and place.

Estabrook has been a contributing editor at Gourmet magazine and served on the editorial board of the journal Gastronomica. He writes on food issues for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic and Saveur. He is the author of "Tomatoland."

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