The 2016 Leap Year Edition

Feb 29 3


Let it rain; let it rain, let it rain… (as the song goes)

So much for forecasts of a warm, dry El Nino winter!
As you probably already know, Seattle now “boasts” the wettest rainy season since record-keeping of such regional weather-related data began in 1894.
Silver lining? Snow would’ve been much worse. So there, rain snobs!


          beard grump                   beard corkscrew 

Say it isn’t so, James!

“Seattle Chefs Get Screwed by James Beard Blunder”, screamed the February 19 Eater Seattle headline. Wassup with that, you ask? Plenty and it isn’t pretty…
As reported by ES’s Adam H. Callaghan, a screwup in this year’s James Beard Awards voting process may leave local chefs Dustin Ronspies (Art of the Table) and Rachel Yang & Seif Chirchi (Joule) out in the cold.
The James Beard Foundation announced semifinalists for its prestigious annual awards this week, after which its anonymous regional panelists, former winners, and committee members vote on who should move to the shortlist of nominees (tba March 15).
Despite an apologetic email to anyone who had already voted since Wednesday (Feb. 17), the JBF admitted that ballot semifinalists Ronspies, Yang and Chirchi were “omitted” from the Best Chef Northwest category.
“If they want to revote, voters must recast their entire ballot; if they do nothing, their original selections will stand”, Callaghan reported, adding “It’s possible many procrastinators wait until the deadline to pick nominees.  Yet for anyone who was on the ball, the extra time and effort required to set things right suggests few will revote, and the three chefs affected are at a serious disadvantage.”
WM will keep you posted on how this unfortunate situation plays out…  Meantime, here are some other 2016 James Beard Award semifinalists in the great state of Washington:
>Best New Restaurant (A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come)Girin Steakhouse & Ssam Bar, Seattle

>2016 Outstanding Baker (A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence.  Must have been a baker or pastry chef for at least five years) – Evan Andres, Columbia City Bakery, Seattle

>Outstanding Bar Program  (A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits and/or beer service) – Canon, Seattle

>Outstanding Chef  (A working chef in America whose career has national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals.  Eligible candidates must have been working as a chef for the past five years) – Matt Dillon, Bar Sajor, Seattle; Jerry Traunfeld, Poppy, Seattle

>Outstanding Pastry Chef  (A chef, or baker, who prepares desserts, pastries or breads in a restaurant and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence.  Must have been a pastry chef, or baker, for the past five years) – Junko Mine, Café Juanita, Kirkland, WA

>Outstanding Restaurant  (A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard-bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years)Lark, Seattle

>Outstanding Restaurateur  (A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneur. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Candidates must not have won a James Beard Foundation award in the past five years) – Ethan Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Seattle (Staple & Fancy, How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies & Olives, and others)

>Outstanding Service  (A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service) – Café Juanita, Kirkland, WA

>Outstanding Wine Program  (A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff and efforts to educate customers about wine) – Canlis, Seattle; Wild Ginger, Seattle

>Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional  (A beer, wine or spirits professional who has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry) – Wayne Carpenter, Skagit Valley Malting, Burlington, WA

>Rising Star of the Year  (A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come) – Jay Blackinton, Hogstone Wood Oven, Orcas Island, WA; Maximillian Petty, Eden Hill, Seattle

>Best Chef: Northwest  (Chefs who have set new, or consistent, standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region) – Eric Donnelly, RockCreek, Seattle; Mike Easton, Il Corvo Pasta, Seattle; Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins, Seattle; Adam Hegsted, The Wandering Table, Spokane, WA; Edouardo Jordan, Salare, Seattle; Nathan Lockwood, Altura, Seattle; Dustin Ronspies, Art of the Table, Seattle; Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle

That’s all they wrote, folks..

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