May 4, 2010 / 1:28 AM / 7 years ago

Colicchio judged as top U.S. chef, NYC eateries win

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Tom Colicchio, known for his innovative American cuisine and the main judge of a wildly popular U.S. cooking show, was named outstanding U.S. chef by the James Beard Foundation on Monday.

Colicchio beat out this year's other finalists Jose Andres, Suzanne Goin, Gary Danko and Charles Phan for the most prestigious chef award in the United States.

Colicchio's win punctuated a strong showing for New York City's dining scene where the James Beard awards were handed out Monday evening.

Michelin three-star restaurant Daniel picked up the award for best U.S. eatery, while Marea nabbed the prize as best new U.S. restaurant.

"New York still wants fine dining, but they want 'truffles in blue jeans,'" said Michael White, executive chef at Marea, referring to the trend of high-end food in a casual setting.

Keith McNally, who owns some of the most coveted and hard-to-get dining spots in New York, was named outstanding restaurateur.

Like McNally, Colicchio is a culinary veteran.

The 47-year-old runs a number of restaurants around the country including his flagship restaurant Craft in New York and Colicchio & Son which opened across town in March.

In addition to his restaurants, Colicchio has been the top judge of the TV show "Top Chef" for six seasons, doling out critiques on the varied dishes made by the show's contestants.

Colicchio said his win was a recognition of his re-dedication to cooking amid expansion of his business and television projects.

"I want to focus on what I want to do."

Colman Andrews, the author of "The Country Cooking of Ireland," won the cookbook of the year award from the James Beard Foundation on Sunday.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Miral Fahmy

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