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At an event known as the Oscars of the US food world, the culinary glitterati gathered in Chicago Monday night where tastemakers pronounced chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns in the Hudson Valley the best restaurant in America -- a second win for the chef.
In 2013, Barber’s New York restaurant Blue Hill also took the Oscar equivalent of best film, snagging the highest honor at the James Beard Foundation Awards: Outstanding Restaurant.
Two years later, the chef -- whose gastronomical ethos touts local, seasonal, and sustainable foods -- took the same award, this time for his restaurant in Pocantico Hills in New York.
Other big winners at the James Beard Foundation Awards this year include chef Michael Anthony of popular New York dining hotspot Gramercy Tavern, who took the award for Outstanding Chef -- the Oscar equivalent of best actor.
Celebrity pastry chef Christina Tosi of Momofuku fame took the award for Outstanding Pastry Chef, while Jessica Largey of Manresa in Los Gatos, California was named the Rising Star Chef of the Year.
Tipplers with gourmet palates in Chicago may want to check out The Violet Hour, which took the award for Outstanding Bar Program.
And diners on the lookout for the next big hotspot will want to add Batard in New York to their checklist, after it was named Best New Restaurant.
Meanwhile, Barber is a multiple winner at this year’s edition of the James Beard awards, having also snagged the Writing and Literature award for his latest book “Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food” which was one of the most hotly anticipated food books of 2014.
In it, Barber surprised readers by proposing to revisit the gastronomic paradigm he helped popularize -- seasonal, local foods -- for a new philosophy that eschews the “cherry-picking” of desirable and resource-intensive foods in favor of a more integrated system that values esthetically imperfect produce, grains and legumes.
In 2004, Blue Hill at Stone Barns opened within the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a working four-season farm and educational center about 50 km north of New York.
Ingredients are sourced from surrounding fields and pastures, and guests dine on a ‘Grazing, Pecking, Rooting’ meal that depends on seasonality. The tasting menu is $218 USD.
For the 25th anniversary, organizers of the James Beard Foundation Awards hosted the gala in Chicago -- the first time the event has taken place outside New York. The awards return to Chicago for 2016 and 2017.