Los Angeles chefs won multiple categories at last night's James Beard Foundation Awards at Chicago's Lyric Opera theatre, including Suzanne Goin for Outstanding Chef, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo for Best Chef: West, and Dahlia Narvaez for Outstanding Pastry Chef. It's a major redemption for L.A., which came home with zero awards after last year's show (though Guelaguetza did bring back an America's Classics award).
In all, this year's James Beard Awards had a major sense that Los Angeles was back on the national culinary scene, as announcements for all four chefs were met with loud applause in the press room. Nationally known chefs like Ming Tsai personally congratulated Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo, whose restaurants include Animal, Son of a Gun, Jon & Vinny's, Petit Trois, Trois Familia, and Trois Mec (the latter three are operated in conjunction with Ludo Lefebvre).
Dahlia Narvaez, who was supported at the show by Osteria Mozza's Nancy Silverton as well as husband Chris Feldmeier (currently the chef at Moruno at the Original Farmer's Market), was nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef for multiple years before finally winning the award against stiff competition. Narvaez helped created such iconic desserts as Pizzeria Mozza's butterscotch budino and caramel copetta.
Finally Suzanne Goin, who gave an emotional speech to end the entire evening's ceremonies, brought home the prized Outstanding Chef award. Goin was up against heavy hitters Sean Brock (whom many considered to be the favorite), Donald Link (New Orleans's Herbsaint), Michael Solomonov (Zahav), and Michael Tusk (Quince).
Goin's work at Lucques, as well as AOC and Tavern, was finally given the recognition it deserved. Lucques has continued to cook excellent, seasonal California-Mediterranean cuisine in West Hollywood for years, as Goin and her team (including partner Caroline Styne) continue to expand their own repertoire — even winning the concessions contract for the Hollywood Bowl.