Zimmern is “Best Host,” No James Beard Win for MN Chefs

Neither of the two local chefs who made it to the finalist stage in the 2013 James Beard Foundation awards program won an award, but four members of the local food industry, including Andrew Zimmern, received media and specialty honors.

The Twin Cities were well represented on the 2013 James Beard Foundation finalists list, and three local nominees just received awards for media and specialty categories related to the food industry. However, neither of the two local finalists for “Best Chef” in the Midwest took home an award this year.

Locally-based food writer and producer Andrew Zimmern won a James Beard award for “Outstanding Personality/Host” for his Travel Channel show, Bizarre Foods America.

And Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, who began producing the online documentary website “The Perennial Plate” in Minnesota, won an award for best “Video Webcast on Location” for their “Real Food World Tour” series.

Northeast Minneapolis-based restaurant Kramarczuk’s, which specializes in Eastern European fare, also won a James Beard award for “America’s Classics.” That award was announced in February, and according to the foundation, it “is given to restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community.”

These local winners were joined by many other authors, journalists, chefs, restaurant designers, beverage professionals, and others working in the North American food industry. Every year since its inception in 1990, the James Beard awards have recognized these types of professionals for their advances in the industry.

This year’s “Outstanding Chef” was a tie between David Chang, of Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City, and Paul Kahan, of Blackbird in Chicago. The James Beard “Rising Star Chef” award went to Danny Bowien, of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco and New York City, while the “Best New Restaurant” award went to State Bird Provisions in San Francisco. Click here for a complete list of all James Beard award recipients.

Although Twin Cities chefs did not win awards in the best restaurant and chef categories, two local individuals were finalists for the “Best Chef” in the Midwest award: Jack Reibel, chef and co-owner of downtown Minneapolis restaurant Butcher & the Boar and Michelle Gayer, chef and owner of Salty Tart at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. Colby Garrelts, chef and owner of Bluestem in Kansas City, Missouri, won the “Best Chef” in the Midwest award.

Other local finalists included Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, a writer for Twin Cities Business’ sister publication Mpls.St.Paul, who was nominated for the M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing award for her profile, “The Cheese Artist.”

There was also an abundance of local semifinalists this year, including Steven Brown of Tilia, Mike DeCamp of La Belle Vie, Doug Flicker of Piccolo, Lenny Russo of Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, Sameh Wadi of Saffron Restaurant & Lounge, and James Winberg, Mike Brown, and Bob Gerken of Travail Kitchen and Amusements.

The 2013 awards recipients were honored Monday at a gala and reception in Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York City.