Women chefs win big at Beard Awards


In the midst of the James Beard Awards, Best Chef New York City winner April Bloomfield and Who's Who of Food & Beverage inductee David Chang met up in the green room and clinked medals.

The medal bump signified nothing more than two friends celebrating. But it was a fitting finale to 2013, a year in which Chang fronted Time's "The Gods of Food" issue, provoking consternation from industry members who believed the magazine unfairly overlooked female chefs.

Bloomfield was frequently cited as a woman who should have merited cover consideration.

James Beard Foundation award judges apparently sided with Time's detractors, since Bloomfield was one of six women honored Monday night.

The consensus among the audience at Lincoln Center was that the evening's big winners were Peche's Ryan Prewitt, who claimed the "Best New Restaurant" and "Best Chef South" prizes, and double X-chromosome holders.

In addition to Bloomfield, three women won regional best chef awards: Portland's Naomi Pomeroy was named Best Chef Northwest; Raleigh's Ashley Christensen received the Best Chef Southeast award and, in a tie, Sue Zemanick of Gautreau's also took a "Best Chef South" medal home to New Orleans.

Rounding out the list were Boston's Barbara Lynch, who won the "Outstanding Restaurateur" award, and Los Angeles' Nancy Silverton, recipient of the "Outstanding Chef" prize.

Silverton defeated Charleston's Sean Brock in the Outstanding Chef category. Brock's fellow chef Hugh Acheson tweeted his support from Atlanta: "Give him time. He's kinda killed it so far in life."