Though San Francisco got shut out of the Outstanding Restaurant and Outstanding Chef categories this year, we still ended up with a pretty decent showing at this years "Oscars of the food world," the James Beard Foundation Awards. The ceremony for the chef and restaurant categories was Monday night in Chicago, and though the mood was somewhat somber following the sudden death of prominent New York food writer Josh Ozersky, the event went on.
Topping the big honors of the evening was young Manresa chef de cuisine Jessica Largey, who took home the Rising Star Chef honor just a few months after the restaurants New Year's reopening, following a bad fire last July that kept them closed the remainder of the year.
And, for the eighth time in the last nine years, the Bay Area claimed the Best Chef: West category (which also includes Nevada and Hawaii, and L.A.), with the prize going to Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski of State Bird Provisions making up for the fact that their new, bigger restaurant, The Progress, lost the Best New Restaurant category to New York's Bâtard. Last year it went to Coi chef Daniel Patterson, who had become the Susan Lucci over the years as this awards ceremony tends to re-nominate people over and over until they win. Brioza and Krasinski, meanwhile, walk away with their second medal in two years, having won in the Best New Restaurant category in 2013 for State Bird.
Also in that always-a-nominee category was Shelley Lindgren, owner and sommelier of A16 and SPQR, who finally won this year in her category of Outstanding Wine Program, for A16.
And, finally, Rajat Parr, the sommelier and beverage director of the Michael Mina Group (RN74, Michael Mina, Pabu) took home the award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. Parr is also a partner in Santa Barbara-based Sandhi Wines.
According to Inside Scoop, the traditionally New York-based awards ceremony looks to be remaining in Chicago for another two years or so, so there's that.