If Michael Symon was crying in his beer last night, after the second year of watching a James Beard Foundation Award
slip out of his grasp, you’d never know it from this photo of him, posted on the Beard website, laughing it up with his wife-and-partner Liz Symon and chef-pal Aaron Sanchez at the Big Apple gala in Avery Fisher Hall.
Hosted by chef Bobby Flay and actress Kim Cattrall, the annual blowout – a black-tie event, complete with red carpet and wall-to-wall celebrities -- has been likened to the Academy Awards of the culinary world, with way better food. ...
Among this year’s winners, Chicago chef Grant Achatz (Alinea) took home a Beard award as Outstanding Chef; and New York’s Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali (Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca) were named Outstanding Restaurateurs.
For Symon, this marked the second year in a row that he’d been tagged as one of five finalists for the title Best Chef in the Great Lakes Region. It also turned out to be the second year in a row that he lost out to a Chicagoan.
In 2007, it was Achatz who walked away with the prize. This year, the nod went to Carrie Nahabedian, the chef and co-owner of Naha
, where the “seasonal American menu” gets tweaked with Mediterranean and Californian accents.
Never one to easily swallow defeat, Symon told C-Notes this morning that practice hasn’t made losing any more fun. “It’s still hard. But I had to present two cookbook awards about 20 minutes afterward, so I had to snap back pretty fast.”
After washing away the bitter taste of defeat with a few Beard-gala brewskis, Symon and his posse headed over to award-winning chef David Chang’s Momofuku Ssäm Bar
for dinner. “Then we went to bed. It was an early night.”
Still, the back-to-back losses haven’t dulled Symon’s appetite for an eventual award. “It’s a great event, and I’ll be happy to be in the running again, next year.” – Elaine T. Cicora
Read Elaine Cicora's restaurant reviews, food news, and comprehensive dining guide on
the restaurant page at clevescene.com.