Monday, May 7, 2012

James Beard Awards 2012

I was just in the same room as Wolfgang Puck. And Grant Achatz. And Christina Tosi. Not to mention the many, many, many other amazing chefs and food writers, like Frank Stitt, who I just had the absolute pleasure of working with for the afternoon. And I just spoke with Alton Brown (okay, so maybe he just looked at us and said "excuse me" as he squeezed by, but he did it in such a friendly way! And made eye contact!). Duff Goldman hung around us for a while too, but he seemed a little stressed so we pretended he wasn't there.

I was given the invaluable opportunity to help set up at the James Beard Foundation Awards by an amazingly generous and wonderful family friend, Jon. All the thanks to you, Jon! I'm still beside myself.

Jon with the Chesterfield Floral Co. did all the flowers for Chef Stitt's table, and he so kindly let me tag along and lend a hand. He absolutely outdid himself on the arrangements, and the table was beautiful. It got so much attention!

This year was the 25th anniversary, so the nominated chefs all prepared dishes that were inspired by an aspect of one of James Beard's cookbooks. Chef Stitt was serving a crawfish and Gulf shrimp salad, there was a "picnic by the sea" (we're still unsure what that means...), port-soaked prunes with orange creme, a cake by Charm City Cakes, and straight tequila served in champagne glasses, just to name a few. This is the kind of party I want to attend.

From what we saw in the time we were there, the event was going to be an extravagant one, with a red carpet and the whole bit. I'm so grateful I was able to play even the tiniest little role in it all. I'm quite speechless, so I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking!

The venue: Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center

The venue

An arrangement on our table--and people looking in awe from behind!

More arrangements, and Chef Stitt in the background

Chef's menu item for the evening 

Our table with Chef

Our neighboring tables

Pastry chefs hard at work 

Tequila table!

Cakes hidden away in boxes

The lovely and handsome Jon as we're trying to capture Duff in action. And apparently as we're creeping on Duff, some staffers were creeping on us!

Thanks again, Jon and Ted. This day has made quite a few of this little gal's dreams come true!