By Ginna Parsons
TUPELO – Three Mississippians took James Beard Foundation Awards Monday at a ceremony in New York.
– John Currence, chef and owner of City Grocery and Big, Bad Breakfast restaurants in Oxford, was named Best Chef: South.
– John T. Edge, a journalist and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance in Oxford, was among five inducted into Who’s Who of Food amp& Beverage in America.
– And Martha Hall Foose’s “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook,” won in the category of American Cooking. Foose started Bottletree Bakery in Oxford with Cynthia Gerlach in 1995 and was a chef at Viking in Greenwood for many years.
The James Beard awards are the Oscars of the food world, and honor those who follow in the footsteps of Beard, considered the dean of American cooking when he died in 1985.
Dan Barber, a pioneer of the so-called farm-to-table restaurant movement, was named the nation’s top chef. Barber was lauded for using his New York restaurants – Blue Hill New York and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills – to highlight the difference seasonal and sustainable agriculture can make on the plate.
In the cookbook categories, Jennifer McLagan’s “Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient,” won two awards – cookbook of the year and single subject cookbook.
The organization’s Lifetime Achievement award went to Ella Brennan, whose family has been a virtual dynasty in the New Orleans restaurant scene for decades.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal