Chef Suzanne Goin took home the outstanding chef award Monday night at the James Beard Awards, and Chicago mainstay Alinea won the outstanding restaurant honor at a ceremony many consider the Academy Awards of the culinary world.
Goin's win comes after several nominations.
"Can I just say, hallelujah, thank God!" she shouted after receiving her medal. She told her staff: "Everyone pop open a bottle of Champagne. It happened."
Goin's current menu at Luques has a California-fresh feel, featuring dishes such as ricotta gnocchi with morels, carrot purée and black truffle butter, and halved asparagus and garden greens with anchovy, black olives, pecorino and walnuts.
Paired with Dahlia Narvaez's win for her work as pastry chef at Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, Goin's victory is a sign West Coast culinary work is earning its due from an awards ceremony that for 24 years was based in New York. The Beard Awards moved to Chicago last year. The host was Carla Hall, co-host of the television show "The Chew" and former "Top Chef" contestant.
For Alinea, it's the first outstanding restaurant win. Its chef, Grant Achatz, won the outstanding chef award in 2008 and has earned other honors from the Beard Foundation over the years but never the top prize.
Achatz's ultramodern cooking style has come to define the molecular gastronomy movement. He thanked his staff during the awards Monday night at Chicago's Lyric Opera for trusting him, having courage and "taking the risk to innovate."
This year's best new restaurant honor went to Shaya in New Orleans, which serves modern Israeli food. The outstanding baker award went to Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston. Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida, won outstanding wine program, and Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, won the award for outstanding wine, beer or spirits professional.
Celebrity chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson credited the geographic diversity of this year's winners to chefs' ability to communicate better using social media.
"What you're seeing tonight is an evolution of the last 15 years," said Samuelsson, who was added to the BeardFoundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America along with author Temple Grandin, among other inductees.
This year's outstanding restaurateur award went to Ken Friedman of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin and Tosca Cafe in New York. The foundation's lifetime achievement award went to Leah Chase, known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine at Dooky Case's Restaurant in New Orleans.
Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, New York, won outstanding bar program while the outstanding service award went to Eleven Madison Park in New York. This year's Rising Star Chef was Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme in New York.
National restaurant and chef awards
Best New Restaurant
Shaya in New Orleans
Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston
Outstanding Bar Program
Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, New York
Suzanne Goin of Lucques in Los Angeles
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Dahlia Narvaez of Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles
Alinea in Chicago
Ken Friedman of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin and Tosca Cafe in New York
Eleven Madison Park in New York
Outstanding Wine Program
Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida
Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional
Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme in New York
Restaurant design awards
75 Seats and Under
Firm: Demian Repucci Design
Designer: Demian Repucci
Project: Bruno, New York
Firm: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Designers: Renzo Piano Building Workshops in collaboration with Cooper Robertson and Bentel and Bentel
Project: Untitled, New York
76 Seats and Over
Design Firm: Land and Sea Dept.
Designers: Mode Carpentry, Land and Sea Dept. (Robert McAdams, Jon Martin, Peter Toalson and Cody Hudson)
Project: Cherry Circle Room, Chicago
Regional chef awards
Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Aaron Silverman, Rose’s Luxury, Washington D.C.
Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)
Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto
Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT)
Zak Pelaccio, Fish & Game, Hudson, New York
Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins, Seattle
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)
Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans
Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville
Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)
Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston
Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal, Los Angeles
Al Ameer Restaurant, Dearborn, Michigan
Owners: Khalil Ammar and Zaki Hashem
Brooks’ House of BBQ, Oneonta, New York
Owners: Beth and Ryan Brooks
Bully’s Restaurant, Jackson, Mississippi
Owners: Greta Brown Bully and Tyrone Bully
Matt’s Place Drive-In, Butte, Montana
Owners: Robin and Brad Cockhill
Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante, Chimayo, New Mexico
Owner: Florence Jaramillo
Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America
Winemaker of Sonoma, California
Baker and proprietor of New York
Author and founder of Serious Eats in New York
Author and animal rights activist of Fort Collins, Colorado
Chef and restaurateur of New York
Humanitarian of the Year
Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles
Lifetime Achievement Award
Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans