View from the Beard Awards 2011

What a spectacular event! This is the 5th year that the awards were held at Avery Fisher Hall--a perfect venue. The slice of moon overhead reminded me of that scene from "Moon Struck" when Nicholas Cage greets Cher. The dresses worn by some of the attendees were even more dramatic.One of the first people I ran into was my friend Andrew Dornenberg and soon after, his wife Karen Page (authors of award winning books such as The Flavor Bible). I'm happily smiling at my good fortune to have found them in such a large crowd in this photo that he tweeted from the press room! Beard-Awards.jpg I had the good fortune of being Rochelle Huppin's date. Bobby Flay remarked that we "made a cute couple"! Rochelle and I have been friends for many years now and it makes me so proud to see all the chefs' jackets with Chefwear embroidered on the sleeve. I remember when Rochelle first started the company, designing chefs jackets with style that would also suit women chefs. Rochelle and my protegé David Shamah were classmates and good friends at the CIA. chefwear-bib-050911-060.jpg In a crowd of over 1500 people I was stunned by how many I knew and wanting to catch up with all of them was an exhausting process! But it didn't keep me from attending a great "after party," held across the street at Daniel Boulud's new Épicerie Boulud, and Boulud Sud. Not that I was still hungry after eating at the event but when encouraged by the staff to try the charcuterie tagine at L'Épicerie which was the best I've ever tasted, and the octopus at Boulud Sud, I was glad I did--it was amazingly tender and delicious. You can check out live streaming of the event from the James Beard site (google beard awards live streaming) but I can't resist highlighting that Tony Maws of Craigies on Main in Cambridge, about whom I just posted this past Saturday, won Best Chef: Northeast! Kudos to all the chefs, both nominees and winners. They are all winners in my book!