Tanaka

Eric Tanaka accepts Tom Douglas’s James Beard award from Daniel Boulud. Image via James Beard Foundation.

Okay, everyone can put away all those Susan Lucci jokes now. Last night, always-a-Beardsmaid chef Tom Douglas won the James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurateur. As we reported earlier in the evening, chef Matt Dillon nabbed the Best Chef Northwest honor, but Douglas’s long-awaited win was undoubtedly Seattle’s big news of the night.

According to the Seattle Times, Douglas had been nominated three times previously, and was in New York, but didn’t actually attend the ceremony. Hence the jocular Eric Tanaka, the executive chef for Tom Douglas Restaurants, tuxedoed up and accepted the award on his friend and partner’s behalf. Lest there be any confusion as he trundled to the podium, Tanaka explained that T-Doug is "bigger, fatter, heftier. I’m good looking. We can see that." Tanaka also thanked T-Doug "for being delicious," and recognized Douglas’s wife Jackie, and the company’s staff.

Douglas won Best Chef Northwest in 1994, and Tanaka himself nabbed that same award a decade later. This is the first time a Seattleite has won the Outstanding Restaurateur category, one of the uberprestigious overall, nonregional honors. We’d like to think it was news of his forthcoming falafel king status that tipped the scales in Douglas’s favor. Big congratulations all around. You can watch chefs Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud present the award right over here, at the 03:00:00 mark, and the full list of last night’s winners is here.