Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be included as an attendant of the James Beard Awards Weekend in Chicago, Illinois in preparation of course of the Awards Gala. The weekend was full of great events were Inclusion and Food Justice were the center of attention. It was amazing to see that the Foundation is now leading the Food Industry with new values such as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
The 2022 James Beard Awards gala was one to remember. Diversity, cultural and culinary backgrounds were celebrated that night and I was there for it!
The mission of the James Beard Awards is to recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.
As always, let me provide you with some highlights of the weekend, including some of the most amazing moments from the 2022 Chef Awards show that will forever live in my brain as great food memories.
My weekend started with some good education on Food Justice and Equality in the workspace. We had some strong and powerful leaders leading difficult conversations with the audience. Topics like Taking Up Space withing the Food Media Industry were also discussed throughout the weekend. I had the pleasure to meet Irene Li (Co-Founder of Mei Mei), Monica Ramirez (President of Justice and Migrant Women) and Mavis-Jay Sanders (Director of Culinary Development and Education at Drive Change).
The next day I met my new favorite Chicagoan breakfast spot, Dove’s Luncheonette, where the Awards Weekend happy hour was hosted, a great time to charge some more energy for next day awards!
And then the night came, what a wonderful and emotional ceremony! Here my favorite moments.
Starting with the winner of the Outstanding Baker award, our very own Don Guerra from Barrio Bread in Tucson, Arizona. A fellow compatriot from México, SO PROUD!
If you know me, you know how much I love and admire (like most of the world) Dominique Crenn, she was there presenting a few awards. It’s always so refreshing and inspiring listening to what she has to say.
The 2022 Outstanding Chef award went with Mashama Bailey from The Grey in Savannah, GA.
Pizzeria Bianco has been a favorite of mine back when we lived in Arizona, Mr. Chris Bianco is known for his professionalism and community leadership. It was amazing to see him being awarded with the Outstanding Restaurateur for Tratto, Pane Bianco and Pizzeria Bianco, all in Phoenix, Arizona.
One of the many reasons I love these events is of course because I get to see very talented people being represented and recognized but also because of all the new friends I make and the personal heroes I get to meet!
So happy to finally meet Eric See in person, Eric was nominated that night and most importantly, he is a guy doing A LOT OF WORK for the Queer Community in New York City, he is someone to keep an eye on since he’s doing some GREAT WORK AND FOOD.
I also got the pleasure to meet Rick Bayless, as I told him in person, our honorary Sonoran citizen.
Shout out to the always impressive JB CEO Claire Reichenbach for hosting an unforgettable weekend and to Chef and Author Kwame Onwuachi for hosting the show.
One last thing, I FREAKED out when I met Jeremy Allen White (Shameless, The Bear) who was there as a presenter. It did not occur to me to ask for a selfie but I took this picture for you. You are welcome.
And that’s all folks. A weekend full of beautiful food, admirable people and memories to cherish.
To see the full list of the 2022 James Beard Awards winners go to this page.
To learn more about the James Beard Foundation and provide support go to their website.
* All pictures are copyrighted to Thisismytake.com