2014 was another solid year for Oregon chefs at the annual James Beard Awards, as Naomi Pomeroy of Northeast Portland's Beast nabbed the title of Best Chef Northwest away from Seattle's hot contenders on May 5.
Pomeroy's win marks the third Portland victory in the category in four years, as she joins the ranks of recent local victors Andy Ricker (Pok Pok, 2011) and Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon, 2013), noting in her acceptance speech: "I feel like I'm taking this home for everybody in the Northwest."
The Corvallis-native kitchen queen and Top Chef Masters vet Pomeroy has been at the forefront of Portland's culinary scene for much of the past decade and a half, most recently bringing fresh flavors to the table at Expatriate, one of Portland Monthly's 10 Best Restaurants of 2013, along with her husband, Portland cocktail crafter Kyle Linden Webster.
The newly-blonde bombshell shut out Seattle's Jason Franey (Canlis), Renee Erickson (The Whale Wins), and Ethan Stowell (Staple & Fancy) and Portland's Cathy Whims of Nostrana, a six time nominee.
In other Hometown Pride updates at the JBFA ceremony, Pok Pok empire builder Andy Ricker added another medal to his collection with a James Beard journalism award for "Star of Siam," the chef's Saveur article on complex Thai curries, and Nick's Italian Cafe in McMinnville was recognized as America's Classic restaurant, a designation which honors "restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community."