It is always fabulous to win anything. But sometimes being nominated is just as good. Last night at the James Beard Awards, the real thrill came from being in the company of David Tanis’ cookbook Heart of the Artichoke and Amanda Hesser’s New York Times Cookbook. I am a huge fan of David’s (the chef at Chez Panisse who lives part of the year in Paris) and we met each other for the first time last night. Another thrill. But it was the New York Times cookbook that won.
Another winner last night was Edible Magazine — a community of many magazines now featured all over America. They are beautifully designed, locally inspired, and extremely successful. The May/June 2011 issue features a 6-page story about…me. I saw my first issue just a few hours before the Beard awards and am now especially honored to be in this new “award-winning” mag. Known as the Eat, Drink, Local issue called “Looking Back, Looking Forward,” it features many locavore pioneers — Peter Hoffman from Savoy restaurant, Rick Bishop (“Chef Charmer”), whose farmer’s market produce is the most highly prized, and the tastemaker story about me, warmingly subtitled: “her shining palate sparked some of the city’s brightest culinary trends.” Since it is the “local” issue, the story focused on my time as chef at Gracie Mansion, as the chef-consultant to the Rainbow Room and Windows on the World, and about the creation of the three-star Hudson River Club and the ensuing concept of “Hudson Valley cuisine.”
I want to take a moment to personally thank Nancy Matsumoto, the writer of the story, who so rigorously wove together a 35-year career with such care, thought, and insight, and did so in her signature graceful style. Thanks, too, to Gabrielle Langholtz, the magazine’s formidable editor, whose idea it was to do it! The Edible community of magazines gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the local food culture that you won’t find anywhere else. In New York alone, there is Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn and Edible Eastend. Talk about niche food passions! I, for one, am running to the farmer’s market up the street from my house — at Grand Army Plaza — on this spectacular morning, to celebrate the bounty of New York and the joy of all things edible. Will you be there?