Okay, I love Gabriel Rucker (one night I was dining at Le Pigeon and the man halted the entire kitchen and made the whole dining room go outside to watch the naked bicycle riders pass by). And it was cool how the Star Wars theme played the Portland chef up to the podium for his Best Chef Northwest acceptance speech. But this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards were a huge bummer as far as Seattle was concerned.
Blaine Wetzel of Willows Inn was up for Rising Star Chef, an award which went to Danny Bowien of Mission Street Food (okay, fine, I love him too). Ethan Stowell and Canlis chef Jason Franey represented in the Best Chef Northwest category, only to have Rucker take the medal. (He won Rising Star Chef in 2011. Medal hog.)
To make it worse, presenter Anne Burrell pronounced Franey’s last name “Frenny.” For a guy with a pretty straightforward name, dude seems to suffer more than his share of unnecessary name flubs.
Add to that the fact that our solid retinue of cookbook nominees came home empty handed at Friday night’s journalism ceremony and, well, I’m sad.
However I have a feeling that Stowell, Franey, and their ilk are going to have one hell of a fun night out in New York regardless. Have a blast, guys. Also: Can the ceremony please be broadcast on TV next year? (I'm looking at you, Bravo.) I would enjoy the Beards so much more with a drink in my hand, and somehow that feels weird when watching a livestream on the laptop.