James Beard Awards: Finalists (And Journalists) Announced

Okay, so for those of you of a mind to party on James Beard Awards night (May 7th for the chef awards, May 4th for the journalism awards–the Science & Tech Oscars of the food world), it’s going to be very easy for you to root for the home team this year. Why? Because Philadelphia pretty much fell off the map between the announcement of the semi-finalists and this afternoon’s reveal of the finalists.

While we were looking pretty good going into the big dance with 19 potential nominees (including Tashan, Franklin Mortgage, Standard Tap, Vetri, Pierre Calmels, Marcie Turney, Joe Cicala, Lee Styer, Jessie Prawlucki and others), the only local names that made it into the finals were…

Philadelphia’s 2012 James Beard Award Nominees

Outstanding Restaurant: Vetri

Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional: Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head

Television Program, On Location: A Taste Of History, Walter Staib

Food Culture and Travel: Jason Sheehan (writing for Gilt Taste) “The Birth Of The Atomic Cheeseburger

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  • Joe K

    Congrats Jason! Wanted to get that in before the inevitable haters move in.

    Sucks to not see more of a local presence here, though.

  • Bart

    Nice one Jason, Congratulations! We’ll be pulling for ya.

  • 75 South

    Well deserved – congrats

  • Daytime Drinker.

    The birth of the atomic cheeseburger was especially well done and deserves the recognition.
    Now as far as chefs and nominees it is pretty sad but here is the reality. The Beard house at some point had a value index for Winners of Beard awards. Eventually simply being nominated also became a value index. The way the “value index” works is that a restaurant or chef can now openly say “I was a Beard nominee” which gives you credibility and attention as being a very well regarded chef or restaurant. Only a few people can say they were winners. Several more can say they were finalists and yet several more can say they were nominees. The reason there are “nominees” and “finalists” even though anyone with a brain knows that the finalists are already determined when the nominations come out is that it is a thank you nod to all the chefs who spent a lot of time and money to cook at the beard house.

    Far fewer chefs would actually spend several thousand dollars to basically cook a free dinner for a bunch of New Yorkers.

    *NO MATTER* how good a chef you are you can never win a Beard award unless you cook for free at the Beard house therefore it is simply “Quid-Pro-Quo”

    Beard nominations are only as important as the public perceives them.
    Like any other business it is a brand and the first rule of branding is brand expansion.

    All those Philly people were super excited on facebook and twitter congratulating each other just as it happened in several other cities but there was no way most of them were going to be finalists.

    Certainly not saying the Beard house is shady but you should take it in context.

  • http://www.atasteofhistory.org Molly

    The website for the TV show nominated for a James Beard Award, A Taste of History, with host Chef Walter Staib from City Tavern in Philadelphia, is http://www.atasteofhistory.org It would be great to add this so people can learn more, since the websites of the other nominees are listed.

  • http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/author/jsheehan Jason Sheehan


    Good eye, Molly. Done and done.