The renowned James Beard Foundation went the road to announce the Finalists for the 2012 James Beard Awards in culinary Mecca city of Las Vegas .
The Venetian / Palazzo Resort was the proud location to host the exclusive invite only press brunch and Gala Reception.
James Beard President Susan Ungaro took to the stage as the nation gathered to watch. She explained the 2012 nominees were selected from a record 57,000 online entries.
The 2012 prestigious group of semifinalists were placed into 20 Restaurant and Chef Award categories that represented a wide variety of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations from ten different regions across the U.S., to the nation’s top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, and rising star chefs as well as the categories of journalism and literature . This year, the Foundation added a new award category, Outstanding Bar Program, recognizing a restaurant or bar that demonstrated excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.
The prestigious nationwide press corps dined on mouthwatering dishes from Venetian executive Chef Olivier Dubreuil and his staffs as the finalists were reveled to the world.
Susan Ungaro began the unveiling and announced Chef Wolfgang Puck was the recipient of the lifetime achievement award and Chicago legend Chef Charlie Trotter added the 2012 humanitarian award to his well deserved collection of honors .
The press corps listened intently as culinary stars from every corner of the nation joined the list of the 2012 finalists. That is every corner except the host city of Las Vegas. Shockingly, not one of the cities’ prestigious, world class chefs, sommeliers and restaurateurs were named.
Some in the room were members of Las Vegas’s of stable renowned Food writers and seemed a little perplexed as their city was shut out of every category. The James Beard Foundation awards has been called the “Oscars of The Food World” and rightfully so. The New York based Foundation had over 57,000 entries and had their reasons for each and every selection for 2012. Las Vegas got shut out as well as other cities. Unfortunately, shunning the host city was a bitter pill to swallow for those in and out of their world class kitchens.
The well deserved winners will be honored at the highly-anticipated James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception on Monday, May 7, 2012 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. The annual James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbooks, food journalists and culinary broadcast programs, will take place on Friday, May 4, 2012 at Gotham Hall in New York City.
Tickets to the May 7th Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception are on sale now and can be purchased at jamesbeard.org/awards or through the Awards Box Office at 914.231.6180.