The James Beard Awards are upon us! The main event is still a couple of days away, but last night was the 2011 James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards Dinner. Gail Simmons and Ted Allen hosted the event at Espace in New York City, and handed out awards to some of the best of the best in food journalism and media.
While all of the nominees for the brand new Humor in Journalism award were certainly worthy, the new category was basically invented for @RuthBourdain, the mystery-shrouded Twitter account that has been making waves since appearing on the micro-blogosphere last year. The biggest question on the table was whether someone would actually accept the award and take responsibility for the Twitter account. Alas, it was not to be – Ruth Bourdain said her (his?) thanks from the anonymous safety of the web, cheekily noting that “I couldn't have done it without three very important people: Ruth Reichl, Tony Bourdain, and his lover, Eric Ripert.”
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Who else took home an award last night? For his book Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine, Noma executive chef René Redzepi won the award for books on cooking “from a professional point of view,” while Diana Kennedy’s Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy took the prize for Cookbook of the Year.
In the broadcast media category, Top Chef Season 7 won for Best In-Studio Program while Declan O’Driscoll and Kevin O’Keefe’s throught-provoking PBS special Milk War won Best Documentary. In addition, Alton Brown and his science-centric Good Eats program beat out Bobby Flay’s Showdown and the Ace of Cakes for best TV Food Personality.
Want the full run-down of award winners? Check them out at the James Beard blog, and don’t forget to check in again on Monday for the thrilling conclusion of this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards!