California’s culinary industry looks bright

19th May, 2014 by Catherine Seda Bugue

From Los Angeles to Napa Valley, California won big at the James Beard Foundation 2014 Awards. The winners for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing and culinary education were awarded earlier this month.

Salmon in Late Spring Restaurant at Meadowood (2)

Salmon at the Meadowood restaurant

The 2014 Outstanding Chef is Nancy Silverton of Los Angeles’ Pizzeria Mozza. According to the James Beard Foundation, Chef Silverton has set national industry standards and serves as an inspiration to other food professionals. To win, chefs must be active in the industry and have been working as chefs for at least the past 5 years.

Chef Silverton is particularly enthusiastic about revitalizing sourdough and artisan breads in the U.S. She is both a chef and baker and has authored several cookbooks including Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery.

Napa Valley’s The Restaurant at Meadowood, run by Director Nathaniel Dorn, brought home the Outstanding Service Award. If you have not yet witnessed a magnetic line of smiling servers advancing on and serving plates to every guest at a large table at exactly the same moment, it is a must-see.

This is Meadowood’s second nomination in the Outstanding Service category, and its first win. Chef Christopher Kostow won Best Chef in the West in 2013. To win a restaurant must demonstrate high standards of hospitality and service and have been in operation for at least the past 5 years.

Charles Phan  The Slanted Door owner chef

Charles Phan – Owner and chef at The Slanted Door

San Francisco scored with The Slanted Door, the tremendously popular Vietnamese restaurant on the San Francisco Bay. Owned by Charles Phan, the Executive Chef, The Slanted Door won Outstanding Restaurant–an eatery that serves as a national standard-bearer for consistent quality and excellence of food, atmosphere and service. To be nominated, restaurants had to be in operation for at least 10 consecutive years.

Not limited to one award, San Francisco also took Best Chef in the West with Daniel Patterson of Coi. Not new to awards, Chef Patterson was Food & Wine’s Best Chef and Rising Star Chef by San Francisco Focus, both in 1997. Called the cerebral chef, Patterson is keen on stimulating minds as well as palates and emphasises aromas as a major factor in the enjoyment of foods.

Winning one of six Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America awards is pastry chef and author Sherry Yard of Los Angeles. With Wolfgang Puck for almost 20 years, she broke out on her own last year. Pastry fans can now find her treats at Helms Bakery in West L.A.

Outstanding Restaurant Design Award for a restaurant with 76 seats and over went to Shed in Healdsburg. The Design Firm was Jensen Architects. The SHED is a hip café, coffee bar and fermentation bar, the latter serving local wines, beers, kombuchas, natural sodas and hard ciders on tap.

On the second floor at SHED is the Grange, a modern interpretation of the agrarian center where people gathered to share about food and farming.

Culinary writers also scored. Santa Rosa chef John Ash won best Single Subject Book Award for his cookbook, “Culinary Birds: The Ultimate Poultry Cookbook” (Running Press, 2013). Civil Eats, a San Francisco area food policy blog was named Publication of the Year. Founded by Naomi Starkman and Paula Crossfield, the site features more than 100 contributors offering critical thought about the American food scene, with an emphasis on sustainable agriculture.

For a full list of 2014 winners, click here.

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The Shed

 

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