Change is coming to the Beard Awards

“If every restaurant team had an equal number of men and women, what effect would that have on the work environment? On the service? On the food? What if racial equity were the norm in kitchens and dining rooms across the country?” Those are the questions posed today by the James Beard Foundation in a blog post announcing changes to the organization’s annual awards.

Julia Child and James Beard

The JBF recognizes the role its valued awards play in the culinary industry, and is revamping some of its rules and policies in an effort to increase access, representation, and transparency. One of the first changes is that the organization is dropping its entry fees for the first two weeks of entries for the Book, Broadcast Media, and Design Awards. In addition, the entry fee for first-time submissions will be waived for the entire entry period.  The goal of these changes is to remove any financial impediments and encourage a wider variety of contributions. 

Other changes include increasing diversity on the Foundation’s committees, including judges, to be at a minimum reflective of the US census. The JBF is working to make its processes more transparent, and to that end has published its complete submission, voting and judging processes. You can find them on the JBF website at

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