Women win big at Beard Foundation restaurant awards


Although it's been a long, slow journey, women have made inroads in the mainly male-dominated restaurant chef sphere. This progress was illustrated at Monday's James Beard Foundation awards ceremony, where women topped several categories.

Chef Suzanne Goin of Lucques in Los Angeles won the title of Outstanding Chef. Dahlia Narvaez, also based in Los Angeles, took home the prize for Outstanding Pastry Chef for her work at Osteria Mozza. Daniela Soto-Innes, of Enrique Olvera's New York City restaurant Cosme was named Rising Star Chef. 

JBF representatives said that the last time all three of those awards had gone to women was over 10 years ago, in 2004. This year more women took home more awards than ever, showing that the restaurant scene is slowly but surely changing. Other women taking home prizes include Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery & Cafe in Boston, who was named Outstanding Baker. Renee Erickson of the Seattle restaurants the Whale Wins and the Walrus and the Carpenter was named Best Chef in the Northwest. 93-year-old Leah Chase, one of the founders of Dooky Chase's Restaurant in New Orlean, received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other notable winners include veteran chef Jonathan Waxman, who took home the title of Best Chef in New York City. Chicago restaurant Alinea won the coveted Outstanding Restaurant honor, and the New Orleans restaurant Shaya was named Best New Restaurant. You can find a complete list of winners at the JBF website.

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