Of the four Portland-based finalists for this year’s James Beard Awards, none took home the gold at the May 7 awards ceremony. Those finalists (Coquine’s Katy Millard, Kachka’s Bonnie Morales, Castagna’s Justin Woodward, and Clyde Common) were beat by Seattle’s Edouardo Jordan, who took home the Best Chef: Northwest medal for his first restaurant, Salare, and the coveted award for Best New Restaurant in the country, for his blazing-hot JuneBaby. Jordan is the first African American to take home the Best New Restaurant prize. (And yes, it’s worth the three-hour drive from Portland.)
In stark contrast to the usual penchant for white, male chefs, this year’s roster of winners was flush with chefs and pastry pros of all genders and ethnicities, including Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton in San Francisco and Dolester Miles, the very longtime pastry chef for Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Al. (It might have something to do with those recent sexual harassment claims against industry bigwigs like Mario Batali and Ken Friedman.)
Portland did take home a few awards at the 2018 James Beard Media Awards, held on April 27. Ava Gene’s chef and restaurateur Joshua McFadden and cookbook whiz Martha Holmberg won for “Vegetable-Focused Cooking” with their Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. Sort-of local Jim Meehan also won an award in the “Beverage” department for his Meehan's Bartender Manual. For the uninitiated, Meehan was an important player in the birth and growth of modern mixology (he authored 2011's PDT Cocktail Book), and he relocated from Manhattan to Portland several years ago.