On May 6, the James Beard Foundation announced the winners of its annual book awards at a ceremony in New York City, and this year, the Foundation seemed to favor some of the country’s most well-established cookbook authors. Science of cooking expert Harold McGee was inducted into the JBF’s Cookbook Hall of Fame for his On Food and Cooking: The Science & Lore of the Kitchen. Meanwhile, Mexican cooking authority Diana Kennedy took the cookbook of the year prize for her Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy (Univ. of Texas).
Ten Speed Press went home with the most book awards of any publisher (three). Its Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World's Top Wine Professionals by Jordan Mackay and Rajat Parr won in the beverage category; Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes by Mark Bitterman (“entertaining and well-researched,” PW’s review said) won for reference and scholarship; and Meat: A Kitchen Education by James Peterson won for single subject (which, this year, might have also been called the meat category, since all three finalists were meat-centric).
EatingWell Media Group, which includes EatingWell magazine, EatingWell books, and EatingWell.com, also won three awards: two journalism awards and one book award, in the healthy focus category, for The Simple Art of EatingWell (Countryman Press) by Jessie Price and the editors of EatingWell.
James Villas landed the American cooking award for his Pig: King of the Southern Table (Wiley), beating out The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual, which you might have predicted if you’d read PW’s starred review of Pig: “If pig is indeed king, then there is trouble at the castle, for Villas (Dancing in the Lowcountry) has stormed the gates and had at him, leaving no sweetbread, shoulder, or chop untasted. So let the commoners rejoice: here are 300 recipes from Southern hog heaven that are juicy, flirtatious, and, at times, scary.”
Three other much-lauded titles won awards: Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) took home the baking and dessert award; Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi (Phaidon Press) won two awards--cooking from a professional point of view and photography; and The Essential New York Times Cook Book: Classic Recipes for a New Century by Amanda Hesser (Norton) won for general cooking, reinforcing the PW review, which said, “Hesser, whose witty bent permeates every page, does a more than admirable job with this stellar collection of more than 1,400 recipes, which should grace the shelves of every food-lover.”
Finally, Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories by Grace Young (Simon & Schuster) won in the international category; and the writing and literature award went to Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg (The Penguin Press).
We’d also like to give a shout-out to two chefs who won awards, who also happen to be new authors: Gabrielle Hamilton, author of Blood, Bones and Butter (Random), won best chef: New York City; and Andrea Reusing, author of Cooking in the Moment (Clarkson Potter), won best chef: Southeast.