James Beard nominations did not exactly rain down upon the chefs of Washington this year, but we did have finalists in two categories.
Among the contenders for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic were Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve), Johnny Monis (Komi), Peter Pastan (Obelisk), and Vikram Sunderam (Rasika).
Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola—a finalist in the Best New Restaurant category—competed against eateries in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
The James Beard Foundation began announcing awards at 6 PM tonight, and ultimately it was a Hoboken, New Jersey chef—Maricel Presilla of Cucharamama—who walked away with the Mid-Atlantic prize, shutting out the four Washington nominees.
José Andrés took to Twitter to let the world know whom he thought was responsible: the (ahem) local media. Then the Washington Post’s Tim Carman countered with his own opinion, and Derek Brown—whose Columbia Room was among the semi-finalists for Outstanding Bar Program—agreed. For those of you who thought this was a contest about which restaurant turned out the best food, we sincerely mourn your lost innocence.
The Best New Restaurant award ultimately went to Next in Chicago. As for Washington restaurants, well, there’s always next year.