The restaurant industry has a reputation as a tough one for women, and thanks in part to media coverage and all those chef shows featuring men yelling, it’s got a fairly macho image. But last night at the prestigious James Beard Awards, lots of the trophies went to women.
The New York Times reports on the strong showing. Suzanne Goin of L.A.’s Lucques won Outstanding Chef; Dahlia Narvaez of L.A.’s Osteria Mozza nabbed Outstanding Pastry Chef; and Daniela Soto-Innes of New York City’s Cosme was named Rising Star Chef. Women haven’t swept that particular trifecta since 2004.
Women also took home Outstanding Baker and Best Chef in the Northwest. Also among the honorees was 93-year-old Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans, who won recognition for Lifetime Achievement. “This gives me courage to keep going for about 10 or 12 more years,” said Chase, who has fed both Barack Obama and George W. Bush. As Grub Street explained earlier in the year:
She’s been lauded as an advocate for civil-rights causes, once flouting New Orleans’s segregation laws by serving both black and white customers. The restaurant became a center for African-American culture and a meeting place for black activists (“they would meet here and plan all of that over gumbo and fried chicken”) and organizations like the NAACP. Those customers included the writer James Baldwin, Thurgood Marshall, and Ray Charles, who mentions the restaurant in his song “Early in the Morning.”
The full tally of winners is here, in case you are looking to assemble a culinary bucket list.
Chef Suzanne Goin at a 2012 Screen Actor Guild Awards event. Image via Getty.