The '09 James Beard Awards are officially in the books, and once again, the New York restaurant industry feasted on its strong voting presence. On the local front, Suzanne Goin lost the Outstanding Chef prize to Slow Food guru Dan Barber, while the Bazaar couldn't hang with Momofuku Ko in the Best New Restaurant category.
In fact, San Francisco's Nate Appleman was the only non-NYC winner in any of the major categories. And since Los Angeles didn't even have a nominee in the Best Chef: Pacific race, the closest thing SoCal had to a winner was Southwest regional winner Paul Bartolotta from Vegas, pictured here via Flickr.
To file away in the fun fact category, this is Bartolotta's second career win in a regional category, which is a rarity in itself. The Vegas toque previously took the Best Chef: Midwest medallion way back in 1994, when he was at Chicago’s Spiaggia. Now, for those who doubt the importance of the JBAs, consider this: Food & Wine EIC Dana Cowin hears that a Beard victory can add as much as one million to the bottom line for regional winners, meaning many chefs will get a lot more than just a shiny medallion.
· Full List of Winners [.pdf]
· Eater Live: Liveblogging The James Beard Awards! [~ENY~]