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Colorado-Based Craftsy Cooks Up a James Beard Award

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The James Beard Foundation will announce the winners in its 2016 Restaurant and Chef categories tonight. Only two Denver-area contenders remain in the running for awards: Alex Seidel of Fruition and Mercantile for Best Chef: Southwest, and Frasca Food and Wine for Outstanding Restaurant. But Denver-based Craftsy already came up with a winner at the James Beard Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards, announced last week in New York.

And part of that win went to former Westword staff writer Jared Jacang Maher, a previous James Beard award honoree, for "A Hunger to Help," his February 2009 cover story on Denver's SAME Cafe. This time, Jacang Maher was the producer of the winner in the online video category, a seven-installment Craftsy class created with chef/author Raghavan Iyer: "Raghavan, Indian Curries: The Basics & Beyond."

Maher was in the audience when Iyer took the stage to accept the award; it was the fourth time he'd been nominated, and this was his first win. “Thank you, James Beard Foundation,” he told the crowd, “for not making me into the Indian Susan Lucci.”

Craftsy has turned online classes into a big business, as we reported in our January 2015 profile, "A Class Act." Here's a taste of the Craftsy class on Indian curries:

Read Jacang Maher's account of the winning evening in "Crafty's Road to the James Beard Awards."

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