D.C. Represents at the James Beard Awards

Congratulations to chef Michel Richard of Citronelle and Central for bringing home the prestigious Outstanding Chef Award at the James Beard Foundation Awards last night. Joining him in representing D.C. were Citronelle sommelier Mark Slater, who won the award for Outstanding Wine Service, and RJ Cooper of Vidalia, who was awarded Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.

Above, Thomas Keller (who won Outstanding Restaurateur) and Daniel Boulud join Richard in celebrating after the awards.

Developing ... Did Frank Ruta of Palena also win in the Mid-Atlantic category? See the City Paper's rundown of the confusion here. As of 11 p.m. Tuesday night, the Beard Web site indicated that Cooper and Ruta shared the honor in a tie.

(Photo by Michael Birchenall.)


Michael said...

The James Beard Press Release says that the Mid-Atlantic Chef of the Year is a tie between RJ and Frank Ruta ... that was not announced at the awards that i know of ...

Michael said...

At the end of Awards ceremony last night, the press was given a kit with the embargoed releases ... I took mine, left the press room and put it in my camera bag (silly me, I didn't think I had to check what I had seen and heard against the written release). The e-mail release went out around 2 a.m. and I didn't open that until 5 p.m. when I was going through my e-mail. It said it was a tie. The written release handed out last night said TIE. If you reported what you saw and heard, you got it wrong. If you just reported the release you got it right. GO figure.

For my press friends, the "new" Beard group kicked out the old PR firm and hired their own, spent $1.2 million on a red carpet at Lincoln Center to Oscarsize it (no, we didn't get Joan Rivers or her daughter on the walkway) -- and no Ellen DeGeneres either; we got Hannah Storm.

The press room was 3 1/2 hours of chaos but a surly Martha Stewart did stop by for Champagne.

The owe a big apology to Frank Ruta!

Michael said...

Just got off the phone with Frank ... he got his call from Beard, got his Champagne as well, and he's estactic. Two winners from DC, that's a good thing!