James Beard Awards

Portland Monthly Food Critic Karen Brooks Wins a 2017 James Beard Award

Our own master wordsmith, veteran Portland food voice, and all-around punk rocker takes home the James Beard journalism prize, alongside accolades for two other Oregonians.

By Benjamin Tepler April 25, 2017

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Portland Monthly food critic Karen Brooks at the James Beard Awards in New York. 

Image: Karen Brooks

Forgive us for tooting our own horn…but we’re talking about the James freakin’ Beard awards—the Oscars of the American restaurant world! On April 25, Portland Monthly food critic Karen Brooks took home the Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award at the 2017 James Beard Media Awards in New York.

Brooks beat out heavy-hitters Jonathan Gold (LA Times) and Bill Addison (Eater) with three stellar pieces of her recent PoMo food literature: “High Chairs and Hard Core”; “The X-Files”; “Beyond Biscuits and Gravy.” 

Two fellow Oregonians also took home awards. Longtime local wine insider Katherine Cole won for “Best Podcast” with her show The Four Top, while photographer Chris Court won for “Photography,” for his work on Naomi Pomeroy’s cookbook, Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking.

Below is a transcript of Brooks's acceptance speech:

"James Beard was born in Portland and no one better appreciated its secrets: staggering bounty all around, and everywhere, the taste of possibility. Decades later, a wave of chefs reimagined this wild landscape as a dynamic live-to-eat, "I Did It My Way," food scene. They are the spiritual punk-rock grandchildren of James Beard, and I'm lucky to tell their stories, chew over their models and philosophies, and write about why they matter. Thank you James Beard Foundation and to my awesome editors at Portland Monthly, Kelly Clarke and Zach Dundas, because damn it, every writer needs a great editor. Thanks for believing in me." 

Stay tuned for the results of the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards on May 1.

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