Right about now, chefs and restaurateurs are converging on Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall for the annual awards ceremony of the James Beard Foundation.
It’s a black-tie affair, so the attendees, who are usually clad in white tunics and toques, look uncomfortable and out of place. Some try to dress down — you can usually count on Mario Batali to wear his orange Crocs with his tux, sometimes with shorts, too.
Of course some of the chefs aren’t just uncomfortable, they’re also nervous as they wait to see if they will be honored with the coveted award.
There’s a whole bevy of categories, and, honestly, it’s a pretty boring ceremony. It’s a professionally produced show with graphics and music to play presenters and winners on and off the stage (no choreographed numbers, however). But ultimately, you sit through category after category, each won by someone you probably haven’t heard of who spends a lot of time thanking other people you haven’t heard of.
Even so, I wish I were there this year. My good friend Clark Wolf is being inducted into the organization’s Who’s Who, and I would love to have been there.
I was in New York over the last few days but returned early Sunday morning to be part of the Battle of the Parks competition in downtown Orlando. I’ll have more on that competition in a little bit. And later this evening, after the ceremony is over and the embargo on the winners is released, I’ll tell you the winners of the James Beard Awards.