The best moments of the 2022 James Baird Awards in Chicago

Mashama Bailey won the Outstanding Chef Award at the 2022 James Baird Restaurant and Chef Awards. | Photo by Jeff Shearer / Getty Images for the James Baird Foundation

Mashama Bailey won the Outstanding Chef Award at the 2022 James Baird Restaurant and Chef Awards. | Photo by Jeff Shearer / Getty Images for the James Baird Foundation

After a gap of two years, the James Baird Awards returned to Chicago this weekend. From food journalists and sustainability activists to chefs and restaurants, food world leaders gathered to accept the shiny silver medals, one of the country’s most prestigious awards.

In 2020 and 2021, the James Baird Foundation decided to abandon its traditional awards format so that it would take some time to think about how to implement more equitable procedures, such as eliminating military bias and candidate polls. Increasing the diversity of This year’s awards ceremony was the first since the audit, and it reflected some progressive changes, such as the expansion of the emerging voice category in all awards programs.

Tiffany Derry, James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach, Padma Lakshmi, Kwame Onwuachi, and TV personality Monti Carlo. | Photo by Clay Williams for the James Baird Foundation

Roots Southern Tiffany’s Tiffany Dairy, host of the Media Awards, and nominated for Best Chef and Best New Restaurant, says “the room alone shows that the organization is moving in the right direction – diverse crowd, nominees.” “Most of the time, there are awards where some people are always in the minority. And on this occasion, it was great to see so many styles of books, food and personalities.”

Despite stormy warnings at restaurant and chef awards, the event really embodied the weekend’s theme, “Good for Good.” Slogans were chanted. Tears were shed. It became clear that everyone was happy to be under the same roof again.

James Baird Media Award winner

The Media Awards ceremony, historically held in New York City, was held for the first time on Columbia College campus in Chicago. Lisa Ling, award-winning journalist and host Getting out On HBO Max, the winners were announced at a live event on Saturday, June 11.

Here are some interesting wins in the book category. It was a big night for Christina Chow, the author of Moon cakes and milk breadWhich won the award for Baking and Desserts as well as Emerging Voice. For Beverage with Recipes, Julia Momose of Comico was honored. Cocktail routeOne Stop Guide to Japanese Cocktail Culture. Gregory Gordits Everyone’s table Won the general category, while Joanne Molinario’s Korean Wagon Won for cooking focused on vegetables.

“The most rewarding aspect was writing stories about people I didn’t see reflected in the traditional media,” says author Hawa Hassan, who we saw at the post-awards reception. Her cookbook, In the BB The kitchen, Won an international award. “I did it very selfishly for myself and for people who look like me, so I’m really grateful, but it’s just a bonus.” Hassan is currently working on his next book, Civil War and Food.

Alexis Nikole Nelson celebrates her victory with BlackFoodFridays’ KJ Kearney for Best Social Media Account. | Photo by Clay Williams for the James Baird Foundation

There was also a category for social media accounts in the Broadcast and Media section. Extraordinary gambler Alexis Nicole Nelson claimed the medal, and humorously concluded her acceptance speech with “Happy Snacking”. Don’t die

“When someone tells me that he, or a daughter, a son – who might not otherwise feel justified in his love of the outside world – now it feels right, and I had to play a role in that?” I can fly home on a whim, “says Nelson, adding that she also has a cookbook working, which will focus on fodder during the seasons.

As far as visual media is concerned, Padma Lakshmi’s Taste the nation Won the long form category. In an emotional speech, Lakshmi said, “I have always loved food, but I came later in this career the most. And I always felt like the first two seasons. Top ChefPeople were like, ‘Why are you here?’ … I had a lot of Ampouster Syndrome, sitting with Eric Reppert and Daniel Bold … I knew I knew about food, but I knew everything. Did not know how to use I knew it until I became a writer.

Some of the notable journalists who have won the Home Award for Outstanding Performance in Reporting are: San Francisco ChronicleJosé R. Ralat of Texas Monthly, Frances Lam C’sondé Nast Traveler, And Tammie Teclemariam New York Magazine.

James Baird Leadership Award winner

The Leadership Awards, hosted by activist and author Bryant Terry, took the form of a luncheon in Dalton, Chicago’s Fulton Market District, on Sunday, June 12. The event seeks to convince dreamers who are responsible for a healthier, safer, more equal, creative life. And a sustainable food system.

The five winners were: Erica Allen, co-founder and CEO of Operations at Urban Grovers Collective; Co-founder of Irene Li, Mei Mei Dumplings and Prepshift Monica Ramirez, Founder and President of Justice for Migrant Women; Mavis-Jay Sanders, Director of Culinary Development and Education at Drive Change; And, in the emerging leadership category, worker-cooperative under-story in Auckland, CA.

Junbi Preeja, cook and worker leader at Understory, tells us that the worker-owned restaurant bar is “re-imagining what unconventional restaurants really can be, and what it really means to take care of your people.” Diana Wu, an Auckland Bloom spokeswoman, added: “I hope this victory will help us gain visibility and recognition to take things to the next level.”

Martin Yan speaks after accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award. | Photo by Jeff Shearer / Getty Images for the James Baird Foundation

James Baird Restaurant and Chef Award winner

And then it was time for the Tuxedo-style main event. On Monday, June 13, chefs and restaurateurs walked the red carpet at Chicago’s Lyric Opera, and joined together for the Restaurant and Chef Awards hosted by the chef, author, and executive producer. Food and wine Kwame Onwuachi.

After a few jokes about Chris Rock’s slaps and zoom calls, Onovachi began by announcing the winner of the Emerging Chef Award: Edgar Rico of Nikita in Austin. Detroit’s Warda Bogitaya won the Outstanding Pastry Chef Medal, while Julip (a Thriller Shift Change winner) won Houston’s first James Baird Award in the national category.

This was followed by regional awards. After winning an award for his cookbook, Mr. Geo is in Chinatown.On Saturday, in San Francisco, Mr. Geo’s Brandon Geo won the Best Chef: California Award. After his victory, the Jew tells us, “Now there is another platform that comes with responsibility. And for me, it tends to advocate Chinatown, with Grace. [Young] And Martin’s [Yan] the work.”

Roni Mazumdar and Chantan Pandya of Blast Rise to Accept Best Chef: New York State. | Photo by Jeff Shearer / Getty Images for the James Baird Foundation

On the other shore, Chantan Pandya of Blast in New York City accepted his award, Best Chef: New York State, with great energy, taking selfies on stage. According to Pandya, the victory “should give people the confidence to be unforgivable about their food.”

Other regional awards include: Eric Williams of Chicago’s Virtue Restaurant & Bar; Dan Baldwin of The Diplomat of Milwaukee; Robin Mai of Honolulu Adam Evans of Birmingham’s Automatic Seafood & Oysters, Ileana de la Vega of Austin’s L. Naranjo; And Christina Martinez of South Philly Barbecue, Philadelphia.

Christina Martinez of Philadelphia South Philly Barbacoa won the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic at the James Baird Awards. | Photo by Jeff Shearer / Getty Images for the James Baird Foundation

When asked about the most rewarding aspect of his career as a chef so far, Martinez responded by translating, “Creating opportunities in the kitchen for the people of Latin America who have I didn’t have that opportunity. “

After Grace Young was named Humanitarian of the Year and Martin Yan was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, the night ended with heavy hitters. Owmni of Minneapolis took home the best new restaurant.

Sean Sherman and Omni Team accepting the James Baird Award for Best New Restaurant. | Photo by Jeff Shearer / Getty Images for the James Baird Foundation

“We prefer to buy from local producers first,” says Omni Chef / owner Sean Sherman, who also co-founded The Seux Chef. “We removed all the colonial ingredients, so there is no dairy, no flour, no sugar. We are showcasing regional, modern indigenous food.

Mashama Bailey, executive chef at The Gray in Savannah, has been named Outstanding Chef. Bailey attributed the victory to his staff, who believe in his vision “no matter how difficult it may be.” “No one knew it was going to work. I just had to fight to make sure I was on the plate,” she says. “Prepare your staff to help me get it, and see if it comes back to me.”

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Jessica Saleema is the staff writer for the Thrillist Food and Drink Team. Follow it. Twitter And Instagram.

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