The results of 2009 Beard awards yielded few surprises. Of the nine awards for chefs and restaurateurs at the national level, eight of them went to professionals based in New York City, where the Beard Foundation is located. New York is undeniably the top restaurant city in America, but eight of nine?
Among the nationals winners was Chef Dan Barber, the hardworking chef and owner of Blue Hill in Greenwich Village. This time around, Barber earned the Outstanding Chef Award. Barber has at least one link to Portland. Former Blue Hill Sous Chef Chris DeMinno was recently hired by Restaurateur Nate Tilden as Clyde Common’s Chef De Cuisine.
For Best Chef in the Northwest region, Seattle’s Maria Hines of Tilth took top honors. Tilth is a great restaurant and Hines a very talented chef, but I would have loved to see Nostrana’s Cathy Whims take home top honors. Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon was Portland’s other nominee in the Rising Star Chef category. That honor went to Nate Appleman of A16 in San Francisco.
There were no winners from Portland this year, but maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. If 2009 were to be classified locally, it would either be the year of the food cart or the year of the sandwich shop. Last time I checked, the Beard Foundation didn’t have a category for these.
Here’s the full list of winners.