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Nancy Silverton Breaks Los Angeles' Losing Streak At The James Beard Awards
Nancy Silverton has come a long way since cooking vegetarian food at her college dormitory at Sonoma State. Twenty-five years ago she started up La Brea Bakery, which has grown to become one of the world's foremost purveyors of bread and baked goods, and has also launched countless successful restaurants, namely the popular Highland Avenue Italian eatery, Osteria Mozza.
Now Silverton helped Los Angeles break its incredibly long losing streak of not winning the esteemed Outstanding Chef award last night at the James Beard Awards. (The Beards are basically the Oscars of the food world.) Though Angeleno chefs have been semifinalists and nominees in years past, they haven't been able to take home the medal. L.A. has not received a win since the award was first given out in 2002.
As the L.A. Times pointed out, it was a great day for female chefs as well:
It turned out to be an incredibly strong night for female chefs and restaurateurs, with women taking home four of the 10 regional Best Chef awards, something that would have seemed inconceivable even a few years ago: Naomi Pomeroy of Beast in Portland, Ore. (Best Chef: Northwest); April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig in New York (Best Chef: New York City); Sue Zemanick of Gautreau's in New Orleans (in a tie, shared the award for Best Chef: South); and Ashley Christensen of Poole's Downtown Diner in Raleigh, N.C. (Best Chef: Southeast)...Among the five nominees for each award were, by my count, 15 more women, including Caroline Styne of Lucques, Tavern, et al, up for Best Restaurateur.
Silverton has been nominated for the honor every year since 2012, and beat out Sean Brock of Husk in Charleston, Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern in New York, and Suzanne Goin of Lucques, also in L.A.
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