Both S.F. and L.A. scoop up awards at the restaurant world’s equivalent of the Oscars
Words by KAREN PALMER
At Monday’s James Beard Awards — widely considered the “Oscars” of the food world, not only for its prestige, but because the best chefs and restaurateurs in the country get gussied up in black tie — California had a golden night. At the Jesse Tyler Ferguson-hosted evening at Chicago’s Lyric Opera, restaurants from San Francisco and Los Angeles brought home medals in both national and regional categories. Here, a roundup of our well-deserved local winners:
Outstanding Wine Program: Benu (S.F.)
Master sommelier Yoon Ha accepted the award for the 300-selection wine list, focusing on France, California, Germany and Austria, at chef Corey Lee’s three Michelin-starred tasting menu restaurant in SoMa.
Outstanding Bar Program, Bar Agricole (S.F.)
After six nominations, the Thad Vogler, Eric Johnson and Andreas Willausch-owned SoMa bar finally took home a medal. Known for its selection of farmhouse-distilled spirits, Bar Agricole has been lauded with plenty of awards and press — including a James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design back in 2011 — but never clinched the Bar Program title.
Other Eating & Drinking Places (Design): Schwartz and Architecture (S^A), El Pípila (S.F.)
The architecture firm took home a design award for its first-ever full restaurant project, a sleek, modern Mexican restaurant in SoMa. The restaurant’s owners — mother Guadalupe Guerrero and daughters Brenda and Alejandra — specialize in the cuisine of Guanajuato and worked with the incubator La Cocina before opening a brick-and-mortar space. In his speech, Neal Schwartz said he was “so proud to be part of the La Cocina and El Pipila family.”
Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV): Michael Cimarusti (Providence, L.A.)
This was another long-awaited win: Cimarusti nabbed a medal on his ninth nomination. The chef has long been respected in L.A. and beyond for his elegant tasting menus and mastery of seafood at Providence (as well as his playful, East Coast-style seafood at Connie & Ted’s, all-day cafe fare at Best Girl, and casual Italian seafood at Eataly’s Il Pesce Cucina).
Feature image: Blood orange, citrus sorbet and sesame at PROVIDENCE. Photo by Jakob Layman.
May 8, 2019