The James Beard Foundation’s partnership with Visit Philly resulted in six Philadelphia chefs showcasing their culinary skills for 500 media members during the 2019 James Beard Media Awards.
Dubbed the “Oscars” of the food world, the exclusive event gathered some of the nation’s top food authors, broadcast producers and hosts, and journalists at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Friday.
Emmy Award–winning television host Tyra Banks emceed the national competition. “I am very impressed by the diversity in the room,” noted Banks, a supermodel turned media maven. “I don’t always see this. I hosted another food award show many years ago and there were not this many people of color so I am touched by that.”
It was another banner year for African Americans at the James Beard Awards.
Among the winners, culinary historian, Jessica B. Harris was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame and was praised by the supermodel for sharing “the story of the African-American experience through the culinary traditions of her — and my — ancestors.”
Other awardees included JJ Johnson, Alexander Smalls and Veronica Chambers for the “Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day” cookbook and broadcast awards to Marcus Samuelsson for PBS’ “No Passport Required” and Samin Nosrat for Netflix’s “Salt Fat Acid Heat.”
Following the dinner and awards ceremony, guests were treated to a dessert reception with noted Philadelphia pastry chefs, including 2019 Outstanding Baker nominee Tova du Plessis of Essen, Kate Jacoby of Vedge and Robert Toland of Terrain.
“Philadelphia’s culinary scene shined brightly at the James Beard Media Awards,” said Jeff Guaracino, president/CEO of Visit Philly. “All of our chefs represent our region’s culinary talent. The menus featured a diverse selection of menus, foods, and recipes that reflected the diversity of the chefs with us. No other destination has taken this bold approach to cook for the influential food media at this important event. It is fair to say that Philadelphia is solidly top of mind in the influential food journalism world. Attendees represented authors, broadcast producers, radio hosts and Internet sensations. Visit Philadelphia will be hosting a number of these journalists in Philadelphia later this year, including during the Odunde Festival in June.”
A complete list of award winners can be found at jamesbeard.org/awards.