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Chefs’ Night Out gathers James Beard Award nominees

Over a thousand people gathered Sunday night at Chelsea Market in New York City for Chefs’ Night Out.

Hosted by the James Beard Foundation and Bon Appétit magazine, Chefs’ Night Out brought together those in the food and beverage world to celebrate and mingle prior to the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony.

“It is almost like a class reunion, but it never ends,” John Besh told Nation’s Restaurant News.

Besh, a New Orleans chef and owner of several restaurants, was a nominee for a Beard Award in the cookbook category under “General Cooking” for “My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking.” He was one of many food and beverage celebrities in attendance.

Other luminaries in attendance, both Beard Award nominees and not, included: Thomas Keller, chef and restaurateur of such fine-dining institutions as The French Laundry and Per Se; Hugh Acheson, chef and restaurateur of such Athens, Ga., restaurants as The National, who won a 2012 James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards for his cookbook; and television personality Andrew Zimmern, whose show, “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” won a Beard Award this year in the “Television Program, On Location” category.

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“If you’re nominated, it’s a great thing … out of the millions of chefs and thousands of cookbooks, it’s an honor,” Besh said of the awards. “It’s about celebrating American food and the idea of America having its own cuisine,” he added.

Chelsea Market, a foodservice and retail space, featured some of its resident operations, like The Lobster Place, The Green Table and Dickinson’s Farmstead Meats, to serve up bites like clam chowder, macaroni and cheese, and red chile-braised pulled pork tostada.


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Beverages were also available throughout Chelsea Market. In the Campari Red Lounge, representatives from such New York drinks establishments as Employees Only, The Rum House, Death and Co. and Beard Award-nominated PDT poured out cocktails for attendees.

“We’ve all won already,” Toby Maloney said about being nominated for a Beard Award. Maloney is head bartender for Chicago cocktail lounge The Violet Hour, one of the nominees up for Outstanding Bar Program this year. “It’s nice that the bar is being looked at as an integral part of the restaurant industry,” he said.

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The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala will take place at Lincoln Center in New York City on May 7.

The Aviary team

Contact Sonya Moore at [email protected].

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