On Monday night, the Chicago Lyric Opera House flooded with chefs, bartenders, restaurateurs, and lots of tuxedos for the James Beard Awards, that annual mashup of The Oscars and prom night that honors restaurants, bars, and the people who make them happen. It was a big night for New York chefs, who took the Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Restaurant, and Outstanding Chef categories. It was also a night of firsts: This was the first year that Chicago hosted the awards, and the inaugural year for the Outstanding Baker category. There were ice sculptures! There were countless flasks! There was a lot of hugging! And we were backstage, convincing winners and minglers to pose for our camera.
Jessica Largey (right) of Manresa, Winner: Rising Star Chef
Jonathon Sawyer of Greenhouse Tavern, Best Chef: Great Lakes (pictured with his wife Amelia)
Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Winner of Best Chef New York City
Will Elliott, Shae Minnillo, and Maxwell Britton of Maison Premiere
Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia, Nominee: Best Chef Southeast
The Violet Hour , Outstanding Bar Program, Outstanding Outfits
Shelley Lindgren, Wine Director, A16. Winner: Outstanding Beverage Program
Adam Sachs, Editor-in-Chief, and Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Best Chef: Northwest
Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinsky, State Bird Provisions and The Progress, Winners of Best Chef: West
Matt Taylor-Gross and Franklin Barbecue's Aaron Franklin, Best Chef: Southwest
The Violet Hour 's Toby Maloney, Dale Degroff, and their flasks.
Dan Barber, chef at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Outstanding Restaurant winner
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