Every year the James Beard Foundation crowns the best in the U.S. restaurant industry. This year Foodspotting was invited to attend and blog live from the awards ceremony, capturing the excitement for our community and food lovers around the world. You can read our musings from the event on the JBF blog.
We arrived at Lincoln Center and found our All Access passes in the sun-filled lobby of Avery Fisher Hall where we bumped into Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Bobby Flay – even Chef Christopher Ivens-Brown – who Fiona and I had met on our San Diego trip with Sony Electronics.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Bravo's Andy Cohen, and Maya Hailen
The chef and restaurant world is an intimate one, so it was fun to see so many familiar people in one place. Some we recognized from TV. Others, like Thomas Keller, we know because he created our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, and yet others own our favorite brunch spot in the East Village.
Before the festivities began, Fiona walked right into the auditorium and on to the stage to catch a glimpse of what the winners see. Read her post on the JBF blog here.
We spotted Mo Rocca and Lauren Deen from the Cooking Channel who recognized Foodspotting from the recent episode we filmed for Food(ography)!
We met Mauve and Mortimer, two cute pigs who are mascots for Whistlepig Straight Rye Whiskey.
And soon we found ourselves in the Mercedes-Benz Victory Lane where the winners were photographed and toasted with champagne upon exiting the stage.
This is where Fiona (pictured above) and I set up camp for the night and where we got to chat with the winners, complimented Chef Keller on his shoes, learned to speak Thai ("Chaiyo" means "Cheers!") and even got a "Nominee" sticker from Chef Samuelsson who plucked it right off Rising Star Chef of the Year winner Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon and stuck it on me.
It was an honor to get a peek behind-the-scenes of the Beard Foundation Awards parked from our cushy spots in the Victory Lane. We weren't nominated, per se, but it definitely felt like winning.