2014 James Beard Awards – The Inside Scoop!
Last night I had the great honor of attending the “Oscars” of the food world – the 2014 James Beard Awards! This black tie event awards chefs, restaurants, cookbook authors, tv hosts and food journalists who are tops in their field. From the red carpet to the after parties, I am here to give you the inside scoop!
One of the first to arrive on the red carpet (ok, it was actually yellow… but you know what I mean) was the host for the evening, Ted Allen. Looking quite dapper, as always!
You could feel the excitement inside the theatre at Lincoln Center in New York City. Everyone was on pins and needles waiting for the results!
Looking around the audience it was a virtual “who’s who” of the Food Network, Top Chef and just about every celebrity chef you can name.
One of the awards I was most excited to see was the “American Classics” award. This isn’t a competitive category, rather an award that is presented by the James Beard Foundation to honor culinary institutions that have made their mark on American cuisine. These are “Restaurants with timeless appeal, beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Establishments must have been in existence for at least 10 years and be locally owned.”
One of the restaurants being honored last night was Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in New Orleans. Just a few short weeks ago, I visited Hansen’s while in New Orleans for my sister’s wedding!
This iconic dessert is made of shaved-to-order ice and doused in handmade syrups.
This electric ice-shaving machine was built by Ernest Hansen and received a patent from the US government in 1934. The frozen “snow” that this machine creates could cool you off on even the hottest Louisiana day.
Then comes the fun part, a drizzle of your choice of hand-crafted syrups. There is everything from blueberry to root beer to cream of coconut. I decided on a blend of ginger and cardamom syrups.
If you want to watch a quick video from the awards, follow this link to view on Instagram: http://instagram.com/p/notUETtvm5/
Hansen’s motto has always been “There are no shortcuts to quality.” Their dedication to providing quality products and service is exactly why they received this honor from the James Beard Foundation.
For a complete list of all the winners from last night follow this link:
After the award ceremony ends, thats when the real party begins! Two floors of the theatre lobby is filled with booth after booth of decadent tastings from top restaurants across the country. It is like sampling the best of the best from San Francisco to New York without ever leaving the room! Guests also have the opportunity to sip wines from Napa Valley to Tuscany, or even enjoy hand crafted cocktails from top mixologists.
My favorite bite of the night came from Bill Corbett and The Absinthe Group. It was a “Celery Root Ice Cream Sundae.” Featuring almond milk ice cream, with celery root milk jam and cocoa nibs.
Full disclosure: I don’t really like celery root. In fact, I was hesitant to even try this one! But how can you not savor every bite of an event like this? I was floored – the dessert was absolutely outstanding and completely changed my view of the star ingredient!
Later that evening we made our way downtown for an after party at the Highline Ballroom sponsored by Eleven Madison Park. It was a great way to cap off an incredible evening! I can’t wait for the 2015 awards next year!
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