I wouldn't have missed it for the world--but I almost did because I didn't know about it ahead of time. May of 2010 I decided to attend the Beard Awards at Lincoln Center even though my most recent book Rose's Heavenly Cakes, which had just won the International Association of Culinary Professionals Book of the Year Award, had not even been nominated for the Beard Awards.There were over 1000 attendees but by some fortuitous miracle I bumped into Ariane and Michael Batterberry as we were pouring into the theater where the award ceremony was to be held. Michael immediately congratulated me on my recent award and another friend and colleague, Silvie Bigar who was standing next to us, congratulated him and Ariane for their present one. "What award?" I questioned. Michael, with his usual gracious humility said: "The Life Time Achievement Award!" I've long known that Michael Batterberry, publisher of Food Arts Magazine, was an amazingly eloquent, fascinating, and entertaining speaker. In fact, in an interview when I was once given a choice of any person living or dead that I would like to have as a dinner date, Michael was my first choice. But until that night, when I heard both him and his wife Ariane's acceptance speeches, I never realized what a brilliant speaker Ariane is as well. When I visited their table at dinner after the awards Michael invited me to join them as there was an empty chair next to him. The last words I said to him were: "I love you." I didn't know it was also a goodbye. My only regret of the event was that I could not share the amazing experience of hearing the Batterberries speak at the awards ceremony, but now I can! Just this week Food Arts Magazine sent this link to a few videos, one of which is the James Beard Award for Batterberries (the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award). Another is Dan Barber's Introduction to the Lifetime Achievement Award. Be sure also to click on Batterberry on Julia for a delightful reminiscence.
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