James Beard Award Nominations Ceremony held in New Orleans

March 23 2010 | Latest News
The nominees for this year’s James Beard Awards were announced this morning at a reception at the Palace Café in the French Quarter...

John Harris, Scott Boswell and Sue Zemanick top list of New Orleans nominees for James Beard Awards

By Brett Anderson, The Times-Picayune

March 22, 2010

The nominees for this year’s James Beard Awards were announced this morning at a reception at the Palace Café in the French Quarter. As is often the case, New Orleans chefs and restaurateurs made a solid showing in what is often described as the food world’s answer to the Oscars.

gautreaus sue zemanick.jpgRusty Costanza/The Times-PicayuneGautreau's Sue Zemanick is nominated for the James Beard Awards' Rising Start Chef of the Year for the second time. John Harris of Lilette and Scott Boswell of Stella! and Stanley both grabbed nominations in the Best Chef: South category. Harris was a nominee last year. This is the first nod for Boswell.

Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s is up for Rising Star Chef of the Year, which recognizes chefs under 30. It is the second time she has been nominated for the award.

Of the six people being inducted into the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, the Beard Foundation’s food professional hall of fame, four have Louisiana connections. Two of them, Dooky Chase’s Leah Chase and Susan Spicer of Bayona, were in attendance at the announcement ceremonies and elicited applause. The others are Paul C. P. McIlhenny, President and CEO of McIhenny Company, the Tabasco maker in Avery Island, La., and author Jessica B. Harris, the part-time New Orleans resident and inaugural scholar in the Ray Charles Endowed Chair in Material Culture at Dillard University.

John Besh (Restaurant August, Domenica, Luke) and Donald Link (Herbsaint, Cochon, Cochon Butcher) were both nominated for their respective cookbooks, “My New Orleans” and “Real Cajun.” They are nominated for Book Awards under the category American Cooking.

Emeril Lagasse is nominated for a Broadcast Media Award for his show “Emeril Green: Emeril’s Culinary Adventures: Napa” in the category Television Special.

Media and Book Award winners will be announced at a ceremony in New York City on May 2. Winners of the Chef and Restaurant Awards are announced at a black tie gala the following night.

A partnership with the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, a supporting sponsor of this year’s Beard Awards, helped bring the nominations ceremony to New Orleans, only the second time it has been held outside Manhattan. Palace Café owner Dickie Brennan sits on the Foundations Board of Trustees.

In her opening remarks, Beard president Susan Ungaro mentioned that the city is home to ten former Beard Award winners. Link, Besh, Lagasse and Spicer are all among them.

“Isn’t this great for our city?” Chase asked after the event’s conclusion. “Things like this, I’m happy to receive them. But they give me a little more energy to keep working, especially in my community.”

She added, “And I love Susan. She’s a hard working lady.”

Staff writer Judy Walker contributed to this report.

Restaurant writer Brett Anderson is chair of the committee that administers the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards. He can be reached at banderson@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3353. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BrettAndersonTP