James Beard Foundation brings Chicago chefs and foodies together for special announcement

James Beard Foundation brings Chicago chefs and foodies together for special announcement
A toast to six more years. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The “Oscars of the Food Industry” Extends Stay in Chicago for Six Additional Years

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach announced today that Chicago will continue to host the James Beard Foundation Awards through 2027 at a special celebration in the Millennium Room of the Chicago Cultural Center.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

“The opportunity to host the James Beard Awards for an additional six years is testament to the city of Chicago’s reputation as a culinary capital and cultural destination,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Chicago’s world-class culinary scene is an important part of the city’s economy, supporting tourism, jobs and economic opportunities in neighborhoods across the city. We are proud to continue hosting this prestigious event and look forward to showing even more visitors what our city has to offer.”

The annual black tie awards gala that has been held in Chicago since 2015 brings together the best of the best in the food and restaurant industry to celebrate and honor their accomplishments.

Today's announcement kicked off at 11:00 am with a champagne toast celebrating Chicago's world-class culinary scene and the James Beard Foundation signing on for six more years..

Here's a look:

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The news media, capturing the moment.

Chefs Matthias Merges,and Kevin Hickey. Photo:Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Chefs Matthias Merges,and Kevin Hickey. Photo:Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Chefs Matthias Merges,and Kevin Hickey trading recipes (joke) before today's announcement.

Tony Mantuano of Chicago's Spiaggia, River Roast and others. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Tony Mantuano and John Hogan. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Chefs Tony Mantuano and John Hogan, buddies and partners at River Roast share a laugh.

Chef Rick Bayless. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Chef Rick Bayless. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Chef Bayless stepped away from one of his many kitchens to join the celebration.

“The city of Chicago has been an incredible partner and we’re thrilled to extend our stay for another six years,” said James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach. “In addition to the Awards, Chicago is a supporter of the Foundation's broader programming, including our women’s leadership, sustainability, and scholarship initiatives. This has been and continues to be a highly valued relationship for the Foundation and the industry. I look forward to working with the City of Chicago in support of the Foundation’s mission of ‘good food for good’.”

In addition to the Awards, the City of Chicago, Choose Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association will collaborate with the Foundation in its many philanthropic endeavors, including student scholarships, partnering in both Chicago Eats Week and Chicago Restaurant Week, as well as JBF Taste America events, and the support of JBF Impact Programs and the Foundation’s commitment to establish a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy and thought leadership.

"Our decision to move the James Beard Awards to Chicago in 2015 has been validated by the extraordinary success of the Awards program over the past several years," said Fred Seegal, James Beard Foundation Board Chair." We are happy to be extending this dynamic partnership."

“One of the keys to a thriving cosmopolitan visitor destination is the powerful brand of great restaurants, star chefs, diverse experiences and continued reinvention,” said David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago.  “By partnering with the Illinois Restaurant Association and dozens of key culinary, hospitality leaders and sponsors Chicago has been able to leverage this platform to garner year-round exposure and acclamation as the culinary capital of the United States.”

James Beard Awards calendar for 2019

The 2019 James Beard Awards celebrations will begin in New York City on Friday, April 26, 2019, with the James Beard Media Awards, a celebratory event honoring the nation's top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists that will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers.

The events then move to Chicago, beginning with the Leadership Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at which honorees will be recognized for their work in creating a more healthful, sustainable, and just food world. The James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 6, 2019, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards Lifetime Achievement, Design Icon, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.

“We are thrilled that Chicago will serve as home to the James Beard Awards through 2027,” said Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association. “The ceremony’s continued presence in Chicago punctuates our leadership in the world’s culinary landscape. We look forward to welcoming the Foundation and the visitors who travel here for the Awards, and to celebrating the impressive accomplishments of the restaurant industry’s finest.”

Calling all Foodies: Check out my favorite foodie moments from 2018, here.

About the James Beard Foundation

Good Food for Good™

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to promote good food for good™.  For more than 30 years, the James Beard Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives. Through the James Beard Awards, unique dining experiences at the James Beard House and around the country, scholarships, hands-on learning, and a variety of industry programs that educate and empower leaders in our community, the Foundation has built a platform for chefs and asserted the power of gastronomy to drive behavior, culture, and policy change around food. To that end, the Foundation has also created signature impact-oriented initiatives that include our Women’s Leadership Programs aimed at addressing the gender imbalance in the culinary industry; advocacy training through our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change; and the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards that shine a spotlight on successful change makers.

Click here to read about last year's James Bread Awards Ceremony.

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