JBF Cookbook Award nominees announced

 cookbook collage

Today the James Beard Foundation announced the nominees for its 2018 Cookbook Awards and other food writing/media awards. It is always interesting to compare the JBF list to the IACP list to see how many books overlap between them. If a book has made both lists, it has to be one of the best of the year. In 2018, fifteen books appeared on both lists, including Member favorites BraveTart by Stella Parks; Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat; Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh; Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark; The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen; and The Book of Greens by Jenn Louis and Kathleen Squires.

This year JBF switched up a couple of the categories; for instance 'Cooking from a Professional Point of View' became 'Restaurant and Professional', and 'Nonfiction' morphed into 'Writing'. We will not see any controversies in the JBF awards similar to what happened with Six Seasons at the IACP, as the JBF does not allow any staff or trustees to be considered for its awards.

Sometimes the category choices are puzzling. For example, On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen  by Jeremy Fox and Noah Galuten is in the 'Restaurant and Professional' category, while Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg - also written by a restaurant chef - ended up in  'Vegetable-Focused'. This placement comes despite the latter having a quarter of its recipes including fish or meat, while the former has no meat recipes at all.

Brushing away these minor inconsistencies, we see a strong list of contenders for the various categories. Sweet has a chance to redeem itself from the upset loss at IACP, although BraveTart will provide stiff competition. Likewise, the 'General' category features robust candidates as Christopher Kimball's Milk Street faces off against favorites Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat.

A smattering of non-U.S. and internationally-published books vie for honors this year, including The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis and the above-referenced On Vegetables (remember EYB Members get a discount on all Phaidon books), and The Beauty Chef by Carla Oates.

As is to be expected, many of the nominees were featured on Jenny's best of 2017 list, including  Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots by Matt Jennings and State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook by Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski and JJ Goode, among others.        

At a ceremony in New York City on April 27, 2018, the JBF will announce the winners of the awards, along with the inductee to the JBF Cookbook Hall of Fame.  Jenny had the honor of being a judge this year. She and Jane will attend the awards, so watch this space for a report afterwards. See all of the nomineees on our James Beard Awards 2018 page. 

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