Hooray! Chef Matt Dillon of Sitka and Spruce and The Corson Building is now James Beard–winning chef Matt Dillon, after receiving a James Beard award for Best Chef Northwest at the Academy Awards–wannabe ceremony in New York today. The nattily attired Dillon thanked his co-chef, Emily Crawford, and took a moment to pay tribute to Nettletown chef Christina Choi, who passed away suddenly in December. “She knew hunger and she knew how to feed people,” said Dillon of his friend. Dillon, Canlis chef Jason Franey, and Portland chefs Chris Israel, Naomi Pomeroy, and Cathy Whims, were nominated in this category. Per the Beards’ semiawkward award show narration, in 25 years, Dillon “hopes to spend his time hunting, shrimping, and starting a second career in social justice or ski patrol.” Yep, that seems about right.
Tom Douglas was nominated, once again, for Outstanding Restaurateur; we will update this post with the results in the morning.
Host Alton Brown fired off some clunky jokes about shrimp, though perhaps the highlight of the evening was Tory Miller of Madison restaurant L’Etoile, who won the Best Chef Midwest, and thanked the late James Beard for being “such a weird old dude” who did so much to support the culinary community. It’s only a matter of time before this awards ceremony graduates from live web stream to being aired on the Bravo network. See the full list of Monday night winners here as it unfolds.
Seattle was, at least, well represented in Friday’s first round of James Beard awards, given out for books and journalism. Bellevue-based cookbook behemoth Modernist Cuisine won Cookbook of the Year, as well as the Best Cookbook: Cooking from a Professional Point of View" category. That win wasn’t exactly a surprise; in advance of the award we asked local chefs and food nerds who own this massive, groundbreaking tome, where, exactly, they keep it. Seattle Times reporter Maureen O’Hagan won an award for her “Feeling the Weight: The Emotional Battle to Control Kids Diets,” while author Brad Parsons took the beverage book category for his Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All. While Parsons is now based out of New York, he previously lived in Seattle, and wrote an excellent piece in Seattle Met’s March 2009 issue on this very subject. Congratulations all around.