New York chefs, restaurants dominate U.S. culinary awards

Mon May 4, 2009 10:28pm EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - New York chefs and restaurants swept nearly all the top prizes at this year's James Beard awards, the highest accolades in the U.S. culinary world, with "farm-to-table" pioneer Dan Barber crowned chef of the year.

Barber beat fellow New Yorker Tom Colicchio, Washington-based Jose Andres, and Paul Kahan of Chicago to be named the top U.S. chef, while eatery Jean Georges, the flagship of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, was named the outstanding restaurant.

Barber is considered a pioneer of the "farm-to-table" restaurant movement with its emphasis on seasonal ingredients produced by local farmers.

One of his two restaurants, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, is located on a farm in upstate New York, while its sister restaurant, Blue Hill, is in New York City.

"The artisanal work he has been doing at Blue Hill and Stone Barns has received national attention so we are not surprised that his peers have recognized his contribution," said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation.

Chef Nate Appleman from A16 in San Francisco was named the rising star chef in the awards that honor professionals in the food and beverage industries.

Jean Georges, a Michelin three-star New York French eatery, won outstanding U.S. restaurant, while Momofuku Ko, a Michelin two-star establishment, also in New York, nabbed the best new restaurant prize.

Both competed against other restaurants in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Maine and Birmingham, Alabama.   Continued...

<p>Chef Dan Barber of the U.S. addresses the audience during the Madrid Fusion 5th International Summit of Gastronomy in Madrid January 16, 2007. REUTERS/Victor Fraile</p>