New York, Chicago chefs share top U.S. culinary award

Tue May 7, 2013 11:16am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two Americans chefs representing different culinary styles shared the country's highest cooking honor on Monday.

The James Beard Foundation named David Chang, who has helped popularize kimchi and other Korean food in the United States, and Paul Kahan, who has been praised for his creative American cuisine, as outstanding U.S. chefs this year.

Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation lauded Kahan as a "great chef who's creative with a casual flair," while Chang "has brought a modern approach to Asian cuisine that no one else has done before."

It is only the third time in the 20-year-plus history of the awards that its premier prize went to more than one chef. The last time it happened was in 1998 when two European-born chefs, Wolfgang Puck and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, tied. Pioneering chefs Larry Forgione and Jean-Louis Palladin were co-winners in 1993.

Other past winners of the top award include Thomas Keller, Mario Batali and Tom Colicchio.

The foundation, whose name is a tribute to American food writer James Beard, was founded in 1986 with the goal to recognize and preserve American food history and traditions.

Chang and Kahan both operate Michelin-star restaurants as well as casual eateries.

Chang has expanded his business beyond New York City where he landed on the culinary map in 2004 when he opened the Momofuku Noodle Bar. He now has acclaimed restaurants in Toronto and Sydney.   Continued...

Chef David Chang arrives at the Time 100 Gala in New York, April 24, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson