Founded after celebrated American Chef and TV personality, James Beard,
honor the finest culinary professionals in North America in the following categories: Outstanding Restaurateur, Outstanding Chef, Rising Star Chef of the Year, Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Pastry Chef, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Wines and Spirits Professional, Outstanding Wine Program, Outstanding Bar Program, Best Chefs (for each of 10 regions) and Outstanding Restaurant.
The list of eligible entries is reduced to approximately 20 semifinalists. The judges are a voting group of over 300 previous James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award winners, 250 panelists divided evenly among 10 regions, and 17 members of the Restaurant and Chef Awards committee. The contest is then reduced to 5 semi-finalists who become the final nominees.
In 2011 the Outstanding Restaurant winner was Eleven Madison Park in New York City. Run by head chef Daniel Humm. The restaurant boasts a unique dining experience as guests are given a grid of 16 ingredients, and the staff designs a meal based on selected preferences.
So...Who won this year?
The award for Best Chef Pacific was given to , and the Outstanding Restaurant award was given to Boulevard in San Francisco. Among the honorees, Wolfgang Puck was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.