The Senior Policy Advisor parties with America's culinary superstars...
On Monday night, America's culinary geniuses descended on New York for the annual James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass was ready for some fun at the event known as the Oscars of the food world, after he spent the morning keynoting the Weight of the Nation obesity conference in Washington, DC. Above, Kass is with Ted Allen, center, host of Food Network's Chopped. Kass appeared on a special school lunch episode of the show last year. Allen had a double win with the award for Media Personality or Host, and Chopped getting the nod for Best TV Program, In-Studio or Fixed Location. Will Blunt of StarChefs.com is on the right.
Above, Kass at the event with Chicago chef Koren Grieveson of Avec restaurant; she won a Beard Award last year. The dynamic duo worked together when Kass was a lad in his native Chicago. Grieveson Tweeted the photo, writing "Sam kass and I giving our silly look!" (sic).
The James Beard Foundation has been a strong partner for the Let's Move! campaign, and in 2011, awarded First Lady Michelle Obama one of its inaugural Leadership Awards. Many of the acclaimed chefs who have visited the White House in the last three years have been either Beard honorees or nominees. The White House just announced that José Andrés, the JB Outstanding Chef for 2011, will cook Mrs. Obama's "intimate" luncheon for the spouses of G-8 leaders next week. JB nominee Paul Kahan will cook Mrs. Obama's luncheon for NATO spouses the following day in Chicago. Kahan is Grieveson's boss, and they cooked the JBF dinner on Monday. Andrés was also in New York for the party.
Chef Maricel Presilla, who was the guest chef for the President and Mrs. Obama's White House Fiesta Latina in 2009, won on Monday as Best Chef: Mid Atlantic for her Cucharamama restaurant in Hoboken, NJ. Check out Jamesbeard.org for the full list of winners.
Check out all the Beard party gossip at Eater.com.
*Top photo by Antoinette Bruno, editor of Starchefs.com. Second by Koren Grieveson.