Lights, Camera, Food: James Beard Awards to be held in Chicago in 2015

2014-05-20T12:06:00Z 2014-05-22T14:18:09Z Lights, Camera, Food: James Beard Awards to be held in Chicago in 2015Eloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Big news for foodies!

The James Beard Awards, known as the Academy Awards of the culinary industry, will be presented outside of New York City for the first time next year.

The awards ceremony and gala reception comes to the Lyric Opera of Chicago on May 4, 2015. Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Don Welsh, president and CEO of Choose Chicago and Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association made the announcement Tuesday morning at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in Chicago.

"There is no greater honor for a restaurant than recognition with a Beard Foundation award and there is no greater honor for Chicago's culinary community than the decision to host the awards here," said Mayor Emanuel.

The James Beard Awards, named for the late legendary cookbook writer and teacher James Beard, were established in 1990. Awards honor individuals in the culinary world for excellence in food, wine, service and more.

Among awards, which have been given to various Chicagoans and others, are Best Restaurant, Best Chef, Humanitarian of the Year and Restaurant Design.

Chefs such as the late Charlie Trotter, Chicago chef Rick Bayless, Emeril Lagasse, Chicago's Grant Achatz, Jacques Pepin and countless others have taken home a James Beard Award.

"The James Beard Foundation has enjoyed a special friendship with the city of Chicago for decades. It's a city that boasts over 40 James Beard winners, as well as a special community of chefs and restaurateurs who have always supported the work of our Foundation," said JBF president Ungaro.

Calumet Fisheries in Chicago received a James Beard Award in the American Classics category in 2010. And Mike, Nick and Simon Floyd of Three Floyds Brewing in Munster were named semifinalists in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits and Beer Professionals category during this year's event.

The James Beard Foundation, founded in 1986, takes as its mission the goal "to celebrate, nurture and honor America's diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire."

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