Los Angeles won big at the James Beard Foundation Awards on Monday evening, for the first time in a very long time. Nancy Silverton, founder of Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, took the culinary equivalent of a Best Actor Oscar when she was named Outstanding Chef, the Beard Awards' most prestigious chefs' honor.
It's a rare victory for Los Angeles, which hasn't taken that category since 1998 when Spago's Wolfgang Puck won. (In a tie, he shared the award with Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Jean Georges in New York.)
In another L.A. success story, Sherry Yard, cookbook author and former Spago pastry chef, was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. Yard won Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2002.
Silverton bumped out another local favorite, Suzanne Goin of Lucques, who has been nominated for Outstanding Chef several times (in every year since 2006, except for 2007). Maybe 2015 will be her year.
Other nominees in the same category were Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern in New York; Sean Brock of McCrady's in Charleston, S.C.; David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif.; and Marc Vetri of Vetri in Philadelphia.
Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Jon Shook and Vinny Doloto of Animal were edged out in the Best Chef West category by Daniel Patterson of Coi in San Francisco. (When will the James Beard Foundation finally award this category to Cimarusti?)
Dominique Ansel, of Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York (and creator of the Cronut), beat local Dahlia Nervaez of Osteria Mozza for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
Meanwhile, another West Coast victory went to the Slanted Door, Charles Phan's acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco.
2014 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards
Outstanding Restaurant: The Slanted Door, San Francisco
Outstanding Chef: Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Dominique Ansel, Dominique Ansel Bakery, New York
Outstanding Restaurateur: Barbara Lynch, Barbara Lynch Gruppo (No. 9 Park, Menton, B&G Oysters and others), Boston
Rising Star Chefs (tie): Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig, Chicago, and Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, Wash.
Best New Restaurant
Pêche Seafood Grill, New Orleans
Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional
Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Outstanding Wine Program
The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.