Earlier this morning, hundreds of chefs, restaurateurs, journalists and restaurant-industry groupies were eyeballing their computer screens and mobile phones, anxiously awaiting the news, which was live-streamed from the Publican in Chicago, announcing who would make it through to the James Beard Foundation's finalists round, the nominees of which included seven Colorado restaurants, bars and chefs, along with one author: Williams & Graham (Outstanding Bar Program); Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, Spuntino (Outstanding Pastry Chef); Frank Bonanno (Outstanding Restaurateur); The Little Nell (Outstanding Wine Program); Jorel Pierce, Euclid Hall (Rising Star Chef of the Year); Jeff Osaka, twelve (Best Chef, Southwest) and Alex Seidel, Fruition (Best Chef, Southwest); and Adrian Miller, executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches and author of Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time.
And two of those Colorado nominees emerged as finalists: The Little Nell and Miller.
Miller, clearly excited by the props, posted this on his Facebook page: "This coolest thing just happened . . . "Soul Food" has been nominated for the 2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship! This is the Oscars for foodies, and I'm thrilled about the recognition. I'm looking forward to the awards ceremony in NYC!"
Winners of the 2014 James Beard Awards will be proclaimed in New York City on May 2 and 5 at Lincoln Center.
Congratulations to the Colorado finalists, and to everyone else who was nominated. You're all winners in our book!