Culinary world celebrates excellence at James Beard Awards
May 4, 1999
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The culinary elite gathered Monday night in New York to recognize excellence in the culinary professions at the James Beard Awards. Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, best known for his elegant yet healthy cuisine, went home with the award for best chef.
The evening is the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars -- not to be missed. The annual event, now in its ninth year, was attended by the best known culinary names in the United States. The theme of the evening was "Rising Stars of the 21st Century."
Twenty-eight well-known American chefs cooked for the attendees. The menu included many temptations, inlcuding José Andres' corn and Hudson Valley foie gras with tamarind oil; Marc Murphy's terrine of asparagus and goat cheese mousse with hazelnut-beef vinaigrette; and Tim Goodell's Hawaiian Vintage chocolate and praline cake with crunchy meringue and malt ice cream.
Best chef is given in recognition of the "standard bearer of excellence." Trotter has run his self-named five-star restaurant for 11 years. While his background is rooted in traditional French cuisine, he stresses the use of fresh foodstuffs, naturally raised meats, game birds, and organic fruits and vegetables.
His PBS cooking show "The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter" launched in January.
Other James Beard winners included several New York restaurants. The Four Seasons won best restaurant, Babbo won for best new restaurant, Union Square Cafe for outstanding wine service and Le Bernardin for outstanding service.
Rising star chef of the year, an award given to chefs under 31, went to Marcus Samuelsson. The head chef at New York's Aquavit is considered a leader in Scandinavian-influenced fare in America.
The cookbook of the year award went to Joseph Dabney's "Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread & Scuppernong Wine," a collection of Appalachian recipes and wit.
The James Beard Foundation, which sponsors the awards, was created in 1986 by Julia Child and the late Peter Kump to preserve the culinary philosophy, ideals and practices of cookbook author and well-known chef James Beard, who died in 1985.
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