North Carolina-James Beard Awards-February 19

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-February 19

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.

My oldest son has a lot of experience in the food industry including serving time as an executive chef. He was the first person to tell me about James Beard Awards. These awards are the Grammy’s for the food industry and restaurants.

James Andrew Beard was born on May 5, 1903 in Portland, Oregon.

james beard

After a brief stint at Reed College in Portland, in 1923 Beard went on the road with a theatrical troupe. He lived abroad for several years studying voice and theater, but returned to the United States for good in 1927. Although he kept trying to break into the theater and movies, by 1935 he needed to supplement what was a very non-lucrative career and began a catering business. With the opening of a small food shop called Hors d’Oeuvre, Inc., in 1937, Beard finally realized that his future lay in the world of food and cooking.

In 1940, Beard penned what was then the first major cookbook devoted exclusively to cocktail food, Hors d’Oeuvre & Canapés. In 1942 he followed it up with Cook It Outdoors, the first serious work on outdoor cooking. Beard spent the war years with a brief stint in cryptography, but he primarily served with the United Seamen’s Service, setting up sailors’ canteens in Puerto Rico, Rio de Janeiro, Marseilles, and Panama.

James Beard was anointed the “Dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954.

new york times

When James Beard died at 81 on January 21, 1985, he left a legacy of culinary excellence and integrity to generations of home cooks and professional chefs. His name remains synonymous with American food.  After his death these awards were established by the foundation that bears his name.

On Wednesday February 17 the Beard Foundation announced the 2016 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists.


On March 15, the foundation will release its list of final nominees — including those for Restaurant Design, Book, Broadcast, and Journalism — during a press conference in San Francisco (as well as via Twitter).

Part of the list includes North Carolina restaurants and chefs.

Best New Restaurant

Death and Taxes in Raleigh, NC

Outstanding Baker

Phoebe Lawless-Scratch Bakery-Durham, NC

Lionel Vatinet-La Farm Bakery-Cary NC

Outstanding Chef

Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh, NC

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Cynthia Wong, Rhubarb, Asheville, NC


Nate Allen, Knife and Fork, Spruce Pine, NC

Brian Canipelli, Cucina 24, Asheville, NC

Scott Crawford, Standard Foods, Raleigh, NC

Steven Devereaux Greene, Herons in the Umstead Hotel, Cary, NC





Vivian Howard, Chef & the Farmer, Kinston, NC



Matthew Kelly, Mateo, Durham, NC

Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC

Joe Kindred, Kindred, Davidson, NC









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