Beard Awards show brings out stars from culinary heaven

HAPPY EATER

May 04, 1994|By ROB KASPER

New York -- For years the James Beard Awards have been dubbed the Oscars of the food world. Monday night the food show did a pretty good job of imitating the movie awards. The winners basked in the hot, white lights of television. The presenters read bad jokes from TelePrompTers. And the line of award winners trooping to the stage seemed endless. The winners weren't as well-known or as beautiful as movie stars. But the food was better. The ceremony ran from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m with a three-hour break in the middle for -- what else? -- eating. I ate some dynamite New England clams and spooned down a plateful of Florida bananas cooked in sweet cream sauce. They don't do that in Hollywood. The "stars" were the chefs, such as Wolfgang Puck whose West Hollywood restaurant, Spago, was named restaurant of the year, and whose wife, Barbara Lazaroff, created a buzz among the crowd by wearing a daring dress -- a la Hollywood -- that had a side slit running almost up to her waist.

American eaters might recognize Puck -- in part because he shows up on a televised credit card commercial making his California cuisine.

But few would be able to spot Daniel Boulud, the top chef of the year, who spends his time making dishes like warm salad of roast squab at his New York City restaurant, Daniel.

Patrick Clark, chef at Washington's Hay-Adams Hotel, was named best chef in the Mid-Atlantic region. When Clark was in Baltimore last fall at a fund-raiser for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, he cooked up barbecued quail marinated in a cinnamon sauce that made me want to curl my toes and holler "Gimme more." Clark's cooking also impressed the White House, which recently wanted him to try out for the job of White House chef. He declined, saying the salary could not support his wife and five children.

The after-dinner part of the ceremony was televised by cable's Television Food Network, and was presided over by the network's team of Robin "I-Am-Rich-And-Famous" Leach and Donna "My-Husband-Is-Mayor-of-New-York" Hanover. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spoke at the ceremony, claiming that James Beard, who spent years in Oregon, was really a New Yorker.

Madhur Jaffrey's "Taste of the Far East" was the top cookbook of the year.

Other cookbook winners were: "Nathalie Dupree's Southern Memories," "Secrets of a Jewish Baker" by George Greenstein; "Dinner in Minutes" by Linda Gassenheimer; "Festive Occasions Cookbook" by Chuck Williams and Joyce Goldstein; "Celebrations" by Joe Famularo; "Faye Levy's International Vegetable Cookbook," "Little Meals" by Rozanne Gold;

Also, "Joslin Diabetes Gourmet Cookbook" by Bonnie Sanders Polin and Frances Towner Giedt; "Italy in Small Bites" by Carol Field; "Recipes Into Type" by Joan Witman and Dolores Simon; "Seafood Celebration" by Mel and Sheryl London; "Wine Atlas of California" by James Halliday; "Home on the Range" by Cathy Luchetti; and "Lemons" by Christopher Idone and Kathryn Kleinman.

Other awards were: Pastry Chef of the Year: Jacques Torres of Le Cirque; Rising Star Chef of the Year: Sarah Stegner of the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago; Best American Chef in New York: David Bouley of Bouley; Best Chef California: Joyce Goldstein of Square One in San Francisco; Best Chef Northeast: Todd English of Olives, Charlestown, Mass.;

Also, Best Chef Midwest: Paul Bartolotta of Chicago's Spiaggia; Best Chef Pacific Northwest: Tie between Tom Douglas of Dahlia Lounge and Monique Barbeau of Fullers at the Sheraton both in Seattle; Best Chef Southeast: Allen Susser of Chef Allen's in North Miami Beach; Best Chief Southwest: Dean Fearing of Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas.

Best Television Cooking Show: "Yan Can Cook;" Best Television Food Journalism: "Burt Wolf's Table"; Best Culinary Video: "Today's Gourmet with Jacques Pepin"; Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year: Randall Grahm, Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, Calif.;

Also, Outstanding Wine Service: Valentino restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif.; Outstanding Service Award: Joe Baum of the Rainbow Room in New York; Best Radio Show on Food: "California Foods," Diane Worthington on KABC in Los Angeles.

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