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Caroline Styne Wins LA’s Only James Beard Award

The truly Outstanding Restaurateur of AOC and Lucques rightfully won some hardware

Caroline Styne
Caroline Styne [official]
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

In what is now becoming an annual tradition, Los Angeles was once again largely shut out from the winner’s circle at the James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago last night. The lone local bright spot for the evening was Caroline Styne, who rightfully took home the vaunted Outstanding Restaurateur award for her years-long run at places like Lucques, a.o.c., The Larder, and Tavern.

If anything, 2018’s finalist list felt stacked in favor the city, with 80% of Best Chef: West nominees coming from Southern California, and two of the five national Best New Restaurants hailing from greater LA as well. But despite the scale-tipping of Kismet, Felix, Michael Cimarusti, and Jessica Koslow — not to mention Margarita Manzke who was up for an Outstanding Pastry Chef award, or Miles Thompson who was a finalist for Rising Star Chef — the city largely struck out, just as it has most of the previous half-decade.

Caroline Styne at the 2018 James Beard Awards
Hillary Dixler Canavan

Last year Los Angeles walked away completely empty-handed, though in 2016 the city was able to snag three awards thanks to Jon & Vinny, Dahlia Narvaez of Mozza, and Styne’s own longtime business partner Suzanne Goin, who took home an Outstanding Chef award. This year it was San Francisco that thrived, snagging five awards across various categories, including Best Chef: West for the very-much-deserving Dominique Crenn — the lone non-Angeleno in the category.

Los Angeles must now pin its hopes for a major international win on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, which go down in Bilbao on June 19. The city isn’t likely to come away with anything, but there’s always hope for Vespertine — if not on this planet, perhaps some other one.