The James Beard Foundation Awards for restaurants and chefs were last night in Chicago the media awards were all announced last week and the big San Francisco winner of the evening was Benu executive chef Corey Lee, who took home the second James Beard price of his career. Lee has been nominated in the Best Chef: West category for his work at Benu for five years straight, and he previously won in the Rising Star category in 2006 when he was chef de cuisine at The French Laundry.
You can see the full list of 2017 winners here, and the other win for the Bay Area came in the restaurant design category, where SingleThread, the new fine dining destination in Healdsburg, won the prize for restaurants under 75 seats.
San Francisco did not, alas, win any of the big national prizes this year for outstanding restaurant, chef, bar program, or best new restaurant (we had two finalists in the latter category, Tartine Manufactory and In Situ, however). And Eater National notes that Quince was a heavily favored contender in the Outstanding Restaurant category, only to be bested by Rick Bayless's longtime Chicago restaurant Topolobampo.
Both Bar Agricole, which annual gets a nod in the Outstanding Bar Program category going back half a decade, and Belinda Leong and Michael Suas of B. Patisserie who were again nominated in the Outstanding Baker category, are now becoming the Susan Luccis of these awards.
And as was announced several months ago, La Taqueria was honored this year in the America's Classics category for legacy restaurants.
Among the media award winners last week, though, were a few more Bay Area names: Smuggler's Cove owner Martin Cate and wife Rebecca Cate won in the beverage category for books for Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki, published in 2016; and SF-based Thrillist editor Kevin Alexander won in the journalism category for his profile of the New York Times restaurant critic, "Finding Pete Wells: A Search for America's Most Dangerous Restaurant Critic."