If there was a single, clear-cut path to a James Beard Foundation award, every chef would have a medal dangling from his or her neck. But the reality is the whims of hundreds of voters make the winners notoriously difficult to predict, even after the field has been narrowed down to five nominees.
Still, it’s fun to try predicting the results, especially since Charleston has two restaurants and two chefs in the running for awards, considered the Oscars of the food world. The awards ceremony, being held for the first time in Chicago, begins at 7 Monday night.
To help guide your prognosticating, we’ve analyzed the characteristics of winners in two national categories dating back to 2000.
The categories weren’t chosen at random: Sean Brock of Husk, Minero and McCrady’s is up for the Outstanding Chef prize, while McCrady’s and FIG are both nominated for Outstanding Wine Program.
What are their chances? Read on to find out.
Charleston’s final nominee is Jason Stanhope, nominated for Best Chef-Southeast in his first year as FIG’s executive chef.
In addition to the competitive categories, the ceremony includes the recognition of restaurants honored as America’s Classics and people inducted into Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.
Charleston food writer Nathalie Dupree will be inducted alongside ham purveyor Allan Benton, cocktail guru Dale DeGroff and chefs Wylie Dufresne and Maricel Presilla.