Last night was a big night for San Francisco at the ceremony for the James Beard Foundation Awards in New York City. A bunch of San Francisco chefs, restaurants, and wine professionals were up for prizes, and it turned out to be a good showing all around, especially for State Bird Provisions, which snagged the Best New Restaurant title — marking the first time a SF restaurant has taken that prize since 2000, when Gary Danko won.
State Bird was up against fellow San Francisco contender Rich Table as a finalist, and both restaurants have been blessed with plenty of great national and local press. But ultimately it was State Bird, with its innovative dim sum-style service and its previous honor as Bon Appetit's Best New Restaurant of 2012, that won out.
Locally trained chef Danny Bowien won the Rising Star Chef prize, which is awarded to chefs under the age of 30 who have distinguished themselves in their own restaurants. Bowien cut his teeth in kitchens like The Alembic, Bar Tartine, Farina, and Slow Club before going on to open Mission Chinese Food branches both here and in New York. And the sheer avalanche of press he's gotten since the New York restaurant opened last spring, including a Best New Chef honor from Food & Wine this year, meant that he was basically a shoo-in for this prize. And today he revealed to the Inside Scoop blog that he and Mission Chinese head chef Jesse Koide are planning to open their next project back here in SF, and it will be Asian, with more details to follow in the coming months.
And the other big chef prize taken by a local was in the Best Chef: West category, which had a total of four SF contenders. This one went to Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, which also boasts three Michelin stars and four stars from the Chronicle. He was up against Chris Cosentino (Incanto), Corey Lee (Benu), and the Susan Lucci of this category, Daniel Patterson (Coi), who's been a finalist in four of the past five years without a win.
Also of note, Sonoma winemaker Merry Edwards took home of the medal for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. Edwards has been in the business a long time, having been one of the first female winemakers in California starting in 1974. She founded Merry Edwards Winery in the Russian River Valley in 1997 and has since become a distinguished producer of Pinot Noirs.
See the full list of winners, including all the regional chefs, here.
Jay Barmann is a contributor to 7x7 and the editor of Grub Street San Francisco.