James Beard Foundation Awards Nominees 2010: Congratulations!

The list of James Beard Foundation Awards nominees for 2010 has been released. Congratulations to everyone whose hard work and great talents have been recognized by the industry’s most prestigious organization. The winners will be announced on May 3, 2010, but there aren’t any losers in this round-up. Nominees include:

James Beard Awards 2010 nominees1 James Beard Foundation Awards Nominees 2010: Congratulations!BEST NEW RESTAURANT
* Bibou, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chefs/Owners: Pierre and Charlotte Calmels

* Flour + Water, San Francisco, California
Chef/Partner: Thomas McNaughton
Partners: David White and David Steele

* Frances, San Francisco, California
Chef/Owner: Melissa Perello

* Marea, New York, New York
Chef/Partner: Michael White
Partner: Chris Cannon

* RN74, San Francisco, California
Chef: Jason Berthold
Owners: Michael Mina and Rajat Parr

OUTSTANDING CHEF AWARD
* José Andrés, The Bazaar by José Andrés and Zaytinya
* Tom Colicchio, Craft and Colicchio & Sons
* Charles Phan, The Slanted Door

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF AWARD
* Amanda Cook, CityZen at Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C.
* Nicole Plue, Redd, Yountville, California

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT AWARD
* Boulevard, San Francisco, California
Chef/Owner: Nancy Oakes
Owner: Pat Kuleto

* Daniel, New York, New York
Chef/Owner: Daniel Boulud
Owner: Joel Smilow

* Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
Chef/Owner: Frank Stitt
Owner: Pardis Stitt

* Spiaggia, Chicago, Illinois
Chef/Partner: Tony Mantuano

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR AWARD
* Tom Douglas. Restaurants include Dahlia Lounge, Etta’s, and Lola.

* Pat Kuleto, Pat Kuleto Restaurant Development & Management Co., San Francisco, California. Restaurants include Boulevard, Epic, Martini House, Waterbar.

* Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Chicago, Illinois. Restaurants include Big Bowl, Hub 51, Osteria Via Stato, Tru, and Wildfire.

* Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurant Organization, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Restaurants include Alma De Cuba, Buddakan, Morimoto, and Parc.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD
* La Grenouille, New York, New York
Owners: Charles Masson and Gisèle Masson

* Michael Mina, San Francisco, California
Chef/Owner: Michael Mina

* Vetri, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chefs/Owners: Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL AWARD
* Paul Grieco, Hearth, New York, New York

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE AWARD
* A16, San Francisco, California
Wine Director: Shelley Lindgren

* Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colorado
Wine Director: Bobby Stuckey

* Jean Georges, New York, New York
Wine Director: Bernard Sun

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR AWARD
* Timothy Hollingsworth, The French Laundry, Yountville, California
* Grégory Pugin, Veritas, New York, New York

BEST CHEFS IN AMERICA
Best Chef: Great Lakes
*Bruce Sherman, North Pond, Chicago, Illinois
* Alex Young, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
* Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, Virginia
* Jeff Michaud, Osteria, Philadelphia, Pennsyvlania
* Michael Solomonov, Zahav, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
* Bryan Voltaggio, VOLT, Frederick, Maryland

Best Chef: Midwest
* Colby Garrelts, Bluestem, Kansas City, Missouri
* Alexander Roberts, Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis, Minnesota
* Lenny Russo, Heartland, St. Paul, Minnesota

Best Chef: New York City
* Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern
* Wylie Dufresne, wd-50
* Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park
* Michael White, Marea

Best Chef: Northeast
* Michael Leviton, Lumière, West Newton, Massachusetts
* Tony Maws, Craigie on Main, Cambridge, Massachusetts
* Marc Orfaly, Pigalle, Boston, Massachusetts

Best Chef: Northwest
* Ethan Stowell, Union, Seattle, Washington
* Jason Wilson, Crush, Seattle, Washington

Best Chef: Pacific
* Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles, California
* Jeremy Fox, Ubuntu, Napa, California
* David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, California
* Matt Molina, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles, California
* Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco, California

Best Chef: South
* Zach Bell, Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court, Palm Beach, Florida
* Scott Boswell, Stella!, New Orleans, Louisiana
* John Harris, Lilette, New Orleans, Louisiana
* Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, Florida

Best Chef: Southeast
* Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina
* Linton Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene, Atlanta, Georgia

Best Chef: Southwest
* Bryan Caswell, Reef, Houston, Texas
* Ryan Hardy, Montagna at The Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado
* Rick Moonen, RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Read more about the James Beard Foundation and the 2010 Awards, click here. Purchase tickets here. And, reserve your seat at the next James Beard House dinner in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village for a unique dining experience in the birthplace of modern American gastronomy.

Easter Is Almost Here: Hop to It!

Easter Hop to It Easter Is Almost Here: Hop to It!Easter is less than two weeks away. Have you made your reservations for the day? No matter where you live, OpenTable can help you find the right food and a restaurant with the right mood for celebrants. Visit our international Easter reservations page to search for tables where you are — or where you’ll be, if you’re traveling for the holiday. From locations across the U.S. to Canada and the U.K., let us help you plan a special day.

View special offers and dining discounts, and book your Easter reservations today!

Chef Watch: Scott Conant Heads North; Joey Campanaro Heads West; Charlie Palmer Refuses to Head to San Francisco, and More

* The Boston Herald spotlights local chefs Oscar Alvarez of Via Matta and Guillermo Machado of Lala Rokh along with Shelley Som, general manager of Beacon Hill Bistro, who have worked their way to the top at some of Boston’s top restaurants. [Boston Herald]

* José Andrés (The Bazaar by José Andrés, Zaytinya) talks about his diligent path to success. [Washington Post]

* Joey Campanaro, who has wowed downtown Manhattan diners at The Little Owl and Market Table as well as opening-any-minute and much-buzzed-about Kenmare, may be setting his sights westward. [Grub Street Los Angeles]

* Scott Conant (Faustina, Scarpetta) may bring his Miami and Meatpacking district masterpieces north to Toronto. [Eater]

* Executive Chef Joel Dennis has moved on from Adour Alain Ducasse. [Eater NY]

* It’s “Cribs: The Chefs Edition” as Florian Hugo, executive chef at Manhattan’s Brasserie Cognac (and great-great-great grandson of author Victor Hugo), shows off his family’s stylish Upper East Side digs. [New York Post]

* Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood) isn’t resting on his laurels, including the four stars from Michael Bauer or the two from the Michelin Guide. [Grub Street San Francisco]

* New York’s fabled Plaza Hotel is getting a new chef in the way of Willis Loughhead (formerly of Country) to oversee its soon-to-reopen restaurant Palm Court. [Eater NY]

* Charlie Palmer (Charlie Palmer at The Joule) enjoys San Francisco entirely too much to open a restaurant there. [Grub Street San Francisco]

* Like the kitchens featured on “Kitchen Nightmares,” Gordon Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay) has gotten a bit of a nip/tuck. [Grub Street Los Angeles]

* Buddakan NY executive chef Lon Symensma is leaving his post to do hands-on culinary research in Southeast Asia. Nice work if you can get it! [Eater NY]

Restaurant News Roundup: Rules for the Perfect Restaurant; Morton’s Draws in Diners; Barbara Lynch’s Menton Nears Opening, and More

What people are talking about when they talk about restaurants this week…

* Critic AA Gill reveals his version of the golden rules for a perfect restaurant — sort of. [London Times]

* Morton’s thrives, proving that people are still eating plenty of red meat. [Wall Street Journal]

* Having a power lunch in London? Find out where you should dine. [Business Insider]

* Maggiano’s has great discounts on dinner for two. [Nation's Restaurant News]

* Wimbledon is getting an ace of a chef for this year’s The Gatsby Club, who promises to be worthy of Roger Federer. [Event]

* One-time Rat Pack hangout Da Vinci in Los Angeles is back in business, with a facelift and a new face in the kitchen. [Eater LA]

* Everything old is new again at AltaMare in Miami. [Eater Miami]

* Check out Marcony in Manhattan’s Murray Hill. [Grub Street New York]

* Rialto in Boston adds a patio and a new sous chef, Brian Rae. [Grub Street Boston]

* La Grenouille‘s Charles Masson speaks about his restaurant’s famous floral arrangements, his favorite kind of diners, and more. [WWD]

* Congratulations to Tom Colicchio and the staff at Colicchio & Sons for their three-starred review from Sam Sifton. [The New York Times]

* Find out the secret ingredient in Blue Hill‘s fried chicken. [Saveur]

* Turner Fisheries in Boston is adding lunch. [Grub Street Boston]

* Eagerly anticipated and soon-to-open Menton, the latest in Barbara Lynch’s Boston restaurant empire, is accepting reservations. [Grub Street Boston]

* New York restaurants must display their cleanliness grades, and not everyone is happy about it. [The New York Times]

Trendspotting: Awful Offal; Fish Goes Green; Forkage Fees Make Author See Red; Restaurant Diners to See Fewer Tomatoes, and More

* It’s the awful side of offal as Rocky Mountain oysters show up on more menus. Blech. [The Atlantic]

* Move over green eggs and ham: Fish is getting in on the action as well. [Chicago Tribune]

* A restaurant asked Cake Bible author Rose Levy Beranbaum to fork over cash for a “forkage” fee for a — you guessed it — cake. [Chowhound]

* Some restaurants have secret menus that anyone can order so long as you know the secret names. Trust me when I say you’ll probably be better off if you don’t indulge in any of these things. [Coupon Spy]

* Cold weather has killed a lot of tomatoes and they’re in short supply at restaurants. [CNM]

* Restaurants in Dallas are going green. [Dallas Morning News]

* Restaurants in Chicago are serving pretzel bread. [FortWayne.com]

* It’s patio season in Beantown. [Grub Street Boston]

* Garlic goes green — literally. It’s already a vegetable, so it’s not like it’s not “green,” but some varieties are also actually green. [Los Angeles Times]

* Want to find sustainable fish? There’s an app for that. [Miller-McCune]

* More restaurants in New York are going green with rooftop gardens. [New York Magazine]

* It’s tough to keep kosher in Connecticut. [The New York Times]

* Restaurants have better house wines. [The Reporter-Vacaville]

* You can take a nap in Napa after you dine on first-rate cuisine, thanks to top-notch inns with equally impressive restaurants. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Bars and booze are bringing more business in to restaurants. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

* The Star Tribune has had a food section for four decades and in that time, they’ve, admittedly, endorsed some pretty silly trends. [Star Tribune]

* Taiwan restaurants take sustainability a step further. [Trendspotter]

* Our diners up north have the skinny on what’s going to be trendy in food in the future, which has already arrived, apparently. [Vancouver Sun]

* A DC restaurant goes dark but not in the bad way. [Washington Post]

Critical Question: Do You Rely on Professional Restaurant Reviews?

Do You Rely on Professional Restaurant Reviews Critical Question: Do You Rely on Professional Restaurant Reviews?There’s been a lot of talk lately about the relevance of restaurant critics. The Wall Street Journal recently eliminated their restaurant reviews, putting Raymond Sokolov out of a job. TIME and Josh Ozersky have come to his defense and that of his fading profession, opining that even though the critics of reviewing’s heyday lacked influence, they had perspective — something today’s bloated corps of food writers and bloggers do not possess.

Personally, I enjoy and trust professional restaurant critics (who seem to constantly have to defend not just their jobs but also their opinions). I believe they write more holistically and less fetish-y about restaurants and the dining experience than your average food blogger. Also, most professional critics must visit restaurants more than once, with a rotating cast of dining companions, so their assessments of a restaurant are not based on what might be the odd off night at a normally wonderful restaurant. Rather, they have dined multiple times, come into contact with many staffers, sampled several specials and numerous regular menu items, and seen how the restaurant operates on different days of the week. If so great a number of amateur reviewers or bloggers will condemn a restaurant based on a single unsatisfactory experience, can you really trust these negative reviews? Sure, OpenTable offers up ratings and reviews, but they can only be submitted by diners who have been confirmed to have dined at a restaurant. The vast majority of review sites will let anyone post a review — even a scathing one — without knowing whether that individual ever even walked through the establishment’s door.

We reached out to OpenTable diners on Facebook and Twitter, and a lot of people trusted their fellow diners’ opinions far more than that of professional critics. Michele Stanley says, “Actually I tend to take amateur reviews more to heart.” Mike Fahrenkrog concurs, stating, “For me nothing beats word of mouth, i.e. amateur reviewers in my social network.” Some folks do depend on the pros, though. Cheryl Davis Holman says, “My husband and I read the professional reviews all the time and we have found some diamonds in the rough just by reading them. Places you never would have thought you would like or prices that were too off the charts. They do a service for a lot of people and find places you never thought you would want or could go to. Yeah for the pros!!” George Anthony Harvey, also a fan of professional critics, points out, “There’s no accounting for public tastes. I give much more weight to a TRUSTED pro’s opinion.” Felicia Berke commented on a previous post on this topic, writing, “I question whether first-person reviews are written by the owners of the restaurant or a marketing agent instead of by actual customers. So, yes, restaurant critics (professional ones) are still important. Presumably they have qualifications as well. For all I know, ‘taysTmama’ has never ventured beyond the drive-thru for cuisine.”

Are you sad when newspapers shed their restaurant criticism? Do you rely on professional reviews or are amateur opinions what influence your dining decisions? Join the conversation here or on Facebook.

Chef Watch: José Andrés Gets a Prize; The Obamas’ Favorite Chef; Michael Mina’s New Venture, and More

* José Andrés (The Bazaar by José Andrés) will receive the 2010 grand prize from the Vilcek Foundation, “which annually honors the contributions of foreign-born Americans in the areas of art, culture and science” on April 7th at the Mandarin Oriental in New York. [Washington Post]

* Restaurateur Donatella Arpaia (Mia Donna) can cook. No, really. She’s got a book coming out and everything. [The New York Times]

* Dan Barber (Blue Hill at Stone Barns) discusses sustainable fish at TED. [Daily Blender]

* Mario Batali (Lupa) and Emeril Lagasse (Emeril’s Restaurant) dined at The Publican. [Grub Street Chicago]

* The POTUS is a foodie, and Chicago chef Rick Bayless (Topolobampo) is one of his faves. [The Guardian]

* “No Reservations” Anthony Bourdain (Les Halles) dishes on his latest pursuits to Jennifer Heigl. [Daily Blender]

* Washington, D.C. chefs Mike Isabella (Zaytinya), Art Smith (Art and Soul) , and Bryan Voltaggio (VOLT) work hard to extend their “Top Chef” fame. [Washington Business Journal]

* Chef Michael Mina is set to take over Aqua, where he first made a splash years ago. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Chef Michael Psilakis (Kefi) has ended his association with Anthos in Manhattan and is rumored to be looking to open another restaurant in Brooklyn. [The New York Times]

* Reality-TV star/chef Gordon Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay) at Boka in Chicago [Grub Street Chicago]

* “Top Chef” season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio, chef de cuisine at The Dining Room at The Langham, talks about his future and what he plans to do with his prize money. [Food & Wine]

* Hoss Zaré (Zare at Fly Trap) is preparing a feast for the Persian New Year, which begins on March 20. [San Francisco Chronicle]

How to Be a Good Diner (or How Not to Wind Up on ‘Waiter Rant’)

How to be a good diner How to Be a Good Diner (or How Not to Wind Up on Waiter Rant)CNN.com recently ran a story about restaurant service with advice from our friend Steve Dublanica, the former professional wait staffer behind the snarky Waiter Rant blog and author of the book Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip — Confessions of a Cynical Waiter (HarperCollins). In it, he provides some tips for being a good patron, including not treating a restaurant as if it’s a day care center (Clean up after your kids.), not requesting an off-menu dish unless you accept the consequences (It might not taste great.), and refraining from showing up sans a reservation yet expecting the best table in the house (Use OpenTable.).

A few diner don’ts that come to my mind are things I’ve seen very recently. First, don’t ask a waiter to go through the entire menu with you. Use your reading comprehension skills and then ask specific questions. I saw a couple make a very patient server walk them through a five-page menu. It took 15 minutes on a busy Saturday night. This was not Daniel, mind you — just a lovely, unpretentious Mexican restaurant with entrees under $20 apiece. Next, if you have a food allergy, ask if certain ingredients are in a particular dish instead of giving your server a graphic explanation of your allergy. S/he probably doesn’t care, and it’s an overshare. Also, if you’re a picky eater, don’t make a face when the server explains the specials and they sound unappetizing to you. It’s not polite. Finally, if you don’t like your meal, speak up immediately (and kindly). Don’t wait until it’s too late to fix it and then simply rant about it later online. Give wait staff and managers an opportunity to serve you something you’ll enjoy.

What are your don’ts for diners when they’re out at restaurants? What have some of your past companions done to drive your server (and you!) crazy during a meal? Share your suggestions and stories here or on our Facebook.

Well-Reviewed: Barbacco in San Francisco; Bistrot Bruno Loubet in the UK; Madhatter in DC; The Wright at the Guggenheim, and More

The latest of the greatest restaurant reviews…

* Michael Bauer reviews Barbacco, sibling restaurant to successful Perbacco, happily awarding it three stars. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Miami’s Barolo Ristorante has reinvented itself, earning a couple of stars from Victoria Pesce Elliot. [Miami Herald]

* Bistrot Bruno Loubet in London is serving up deep-fried pig, and critic Giles Couren loves every bite at this terrific new restaurant that is “exactly what a bistro is supposed to be.” [London Times Online]

* The food and the service — not the scene — are the real stars at Bistro du Midi in Boston, according to Mat Schaffer. [Boston Herald]

* S. Irene Virbila makes an early visit to Culina, the new restaurant at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, and she’s pleased with what she sees and eats. [Los Angeles Times]

* Madhhatter in Washington, D.C., offers great food and great fun, according to Tom Sietsema. [Washington Post]

* Leslie Brenner of The Dallas Morning News reviews The Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek and writes that “The Mansion matters,” thanks to chef Bruno Davaillon. [The Dallas Morning News]

* Chef Neela Paniz’s newest restaurant, Neela’s, is serving up authentic Indian cuisine with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and bright flavors in Napa. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Preston’s in Dallas is turning out dishes that are super in more ways than one. [NBC Dallas-Fort Worth]

* Mexican restaurant Rustico Grill in Chicago gets a visit from critic Phil Vettel, who finds comfort and value in its menu. [Chicago Tribune]

* The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan has a masterpiece of a restaurant in The Wright. [Toronto Globe and Mail]

* Troy Unruh, former executive chef at Del Posto, has taken his talents to New Jersey’s Zylo, much to the good fortune of Garden State diners. [Newark Star-Ledger]

Restaurant News Roundup: 1834 Bar & Burger Means Business; The French Laundry Is Memorable; Cecconi’s Does Sunday Suppers; Le Gavroche Kicks Off Lobster Festival, and More

Restaurant News Round Up Restaurant News Roundup: 1834 Bar & Burger Means Business; The French Laundry Is Memorable; Cecconis Does Sunday Suppers; Le Gavroche Kicks Off Lobster Festival, and MoreThe latest news about top restaurants on OpenTable…

* It’s not the world’s biggest burger, but 1834 Bar & Burger in New York’s Financial District is serving a 10 pounder for $75. [Eater NY]

* Is Absinthe in San Francisco considering moving to bigger digs? [Grub Street San Francisco]

* Brother Jimmy’s BBQ restaurant is opening a branch in New York’s Union Square because, well, you can never have enough good barbecue, really. [Eater NY]

* Did you ever wish you came from a big Italian family that still ate big Sunday suppers together? Wish no more: Cecconi’s in West Hollywood has added family-style Sunday suppers. And they won’t break the bank at $50 for four people. [Grub Street Los Angeles]

* Double Crown in New York’s Noho is ready to reign supreme again with a new menu and a nip tuck. [Eater NY]

* Chef Scott Conant’s newest hot spot Faustina is now serving lunch. [Grub Street New York]

* The French Laundry cooked revered San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer’s most memorable meal, which is really saying something. [SF Gate]

* Home Restaurant & Bar in Atlanta (where “Top Chef” contestant Richard Blaise once worked) is closing at the end of March, opening next month as Coast Seafood & Raw Bar. [Front Burner]

* Lobster Festival returns to Le Gavroche in Vancouver for five weeks, serving a three-course lobster dinner for just $35 per person. [Scout Vancouver]

* On April 1, Manhattan restaurant Matsuri will host a festival honoring, er, um, let’s just say “manhood.” [Grub Street New York]

* Porta Via in Los Angeles has added a swanky bar and lounge. [Eater LA]

* New York City owns the rights to the name Tavern on the Green. The name will carry on, but let’s hope the cuisine does not. [The New York Times]