Backstage at the Beard Awards: Chicago Edition

Portraits from the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago

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.

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