It’s a good thing it’s an honor just to be nominated, because the 2013 James Beard awards weren’t kind to Seattle.
Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland took the “Best Chef Northwest” category of the awards, commonly known as the Oscars of the food world, beating out a group that included Seattleites Jason Franey of Canlis and Ethan Stowell of Staple+Fancy. Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco was the national “Rising Star Chef,” a prestigious category where the finalists included Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island. In the cookbook awards ceremony Friday night, three locals were finalists — Michael Natkin for Herbivoracious in the Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian category (Roots by Portland’s Diane Morgan took the medal), The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle for Baking and Desserts (Portland’s Ken Forkish won for Flour Water Salt Yeast), and Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, of the Bellevue-based Cooking Lab, in general cooking (breaking the Portland lock, at least, that category was won by Canal House Cooks Every Day by New Jersey-based Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer.)
The complete list of 2013 winners is online here. And if there’s a consolation prize — beyond the fact that the nomination really is something to celebrate — it’s that some of the most notable awards, as L.A. Times reporters remarked, were “long overdue.” That’s starting to be true for Canlis and Stowell’s restaurants too.