Last night in Manhattan, the "Oscars of the food world" happened, and finally, finally, Coi chef Daniel Patterson got the award he's been nominated for dozens of times without winning: Best Chef in the West. (It's actually only been five times.) Also, The Slanted Door, which has been nominated multiple years in the national Outstanding Restaurant category, had a win as well.
The big gala for the James Beard Foundation Awards happened last night at Lincoln Center, at the same time as the bigger and more glamorous Met Ball on the other side of Central Park, and a bunch of Bay Area folks were there as nominees. The Restaurant at Meadowood took home the prize for Outstanding Service for its manager Nathaniel Dorn, beating out some stiff competition that included S.F.'s own Quince.
Charles Phan's Slanted Door is the second S.F. restaurant to take home the Outstanding Restaurant award in the last two years after Boulevard won the prize in 2012. The criteria for winning is that the restaurant has to have been open at least ten years, and serve "as a national standard-bearer for consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service."
Patterson can rest assured that his string of snubs has ended as he took home the award in the Best Chef: West category, which includes California, Nevada, and Hawaii. He was previously nominated in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 for his work at Coi, and he's now at the head of a mini restaurant empire that also includes Alta CA, Plum, Plum Bar, and Haven in Oakland. And he apparently wasn't expecting to win...
Huh. Maybe next time I should think of something to say in advance.— daniel patterson (@dcpatterson) May 5, 2014
In his speech Patterson thanked his team, and as Inside Scoop notes, he said, "I think the California [regional] category was the most competitive category in the country, and it really shows how strong our food culture is right now. Every single one deserves to win — and I bet every single one will win.”
Also, Healdsburg's newest addition, SHED, won the big award for restaurant design.
And in S.F.-related news, Tosca Cafe chef April Bloomfield, who owns and operates three restaurants in New York with The Spotted Pig being the flagship, took home the award this year for Best Chef in New York City. Bloomfield and partner Ken Friedman are at work remaking the former Lusty Lady strip club into a cocktail bar, and they've lately been rumored to be opening a new location of The Spotted Pig in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, Coqueta, which was up for the Best New Restaurant prize, lost out to Peche Seafood Grill in New Orleans.
On Friday the separate ceremony for the food journalism and media awards was held, and local writer (and former SF Weekly web editor) John Birdsall won an award in the Food and Culture category for his great essay "America, Your Food Is So Gay," originally published in Lucky Peach.
See the full list of 2014 winners (.pdf) here.