When I Stroke the [James] Beards Thusly

Perhaps I am getting more curmudgeonly in my advanced years, but awards and award shows often elicit a big ol’ yawn. Like any popularity contest, it always comes down to who you know . . . and who knows you. That’s not to say the hard-working folks nominated for these awards don’t deserve the recognition, I just have reached a point where I distrust the process.

With that being said, I can’t help feel a thrill when the chefs and restaurants I know and admire get their well-deserved props on the national stage. Like anyone else, I have a favorite among those vying for Best Chef: South, and this year it’s Amarys and Jordan Herndon from Palm & Pine.

Fried chicken liver with plum preserves and foie gras butter at Palm & Pine

From my first taste of shrimp toast when they were popping up as Old Portage, to my most recent bite of sticky grilled rib tips with Steen’s glaze and green tomato chow chow while judging for NOWFE, the Herndons never fail to impress me. Their dishes are always creative, always flavorful, and always made with a sincere love for food and everything it represents. Regardless of whether or not they score the Beard, they’ll always be winners in my book.

Even a crank like me can, from time to time, pull my head out of my butt and offer sincere kudos to all of the New Orleans chefs and restaurants who made it to the semi-finals this year. Good luck!

2023 New Orleans James Beard Award Semi-Finalists

~Best Chef South~

Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith, Saint-Germain
Ana Castro, Lengua Madre
Amarys and Jordan Herndon, Palm & Pine
Melissa M. Martin, Mosquito Supper Club
Charly Pierre, Fritai
Colleen Quarls and Liz Hollinger, Molly’s Rise and Shine
Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette

~Outstanding Wine & Other Beverages~

Commander’s Palace

~Outstanding Bakery~

Angelo Brocato

~Emerging Chef~

Serigne Mbaye, Dakar NOLA

~Outstanding Restaurant~


~Outstanding Chef~

Nina Compton, Compere Lapin

For more information, visit the source!

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