The Association of Food Journalists met in South Carolina over the weekend, presumably engaging in heated debates over critic anonymity and restaurant-review waiting periods and whether a large slab of bacon should be carved into Mount Rushmore. (Of course one should).
The group also handed out some hardware. For fans of food writing and criticism, it's amusing to see which writers and publications are turning out the best food storytelling. Jonathan Gold, the critic at our L.A. sister paper, took home the most prestigious award, for best restaurant criticism, and the Seattle Times won the category near and dear to this blog's gut: Best Food Blog. City of Ate, which was led by Hanna Raskin during the period considered by the judges, took second place, followed by the Washington Post, where our current critic, Scott Reitz, contributed before coming to Dallas.
My head hurts. Click on for more winners.
Best Newspaper Food Coverage 135,000 & Under Circulation First: Karen Haram, Food Editor, San Antonio Express-News Second: Andrea Weigl, Food Writer, News & Observer Third: Tommy Simmons, Food Editor, and Cheramie Sonnier, Assistant Food Editor; The Advocate
135,001-200,000 Circulation First: Bob Batz Jr. & Staff, Food Editor, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Second: Nancy J. Stohs, Food Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Third: Jolene Ketzenberger, Food Writer, The Indianapolis Star
200,001 & Over Circulation First: Joe Yonan, Food Editor, The Washington Post Second: Miriam Morgan, Food Editor, and Jon Bonné, Wine Editor, & Staff, San Francisco Chronicle Third: Carol Mighton Haddix, Food Editor, Chicago Tribune
Best Newspaper Food Feature 172,000 Circulation & Under First: Brooke Foster, Editorial Contributor, Riverfront Times: "What Happens When You Take The Same Shopping List to Four Very Different Markets?" Second: Jonathan Gold, Staff Writer, LA Weekly: "Moveable Beast: L.A. Weeklyʼs 99 Essential Restaurants" Third: Jonathan Gold, Staff Writer, LA Weekly: "99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die"
172,001 & Over Circulation First: Sophie Brickman, Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; "The Life at The Laundry" Second: Jane Black, Reporter, The Washington Post; "Homegrown" Third: Jon Bonné, Wine Editor, San Francisco Chronicle; "A Grape Is Revived -- Quietly"
Best Newspaper Food News Story First: Kristen Hinman, Staff Writer, Riverfront Times; "The Humane Society and Big Agriculture Slug It Out Over Animal Rights" Second: Maureen OʼHagan, Staff Reporter, The Seattle Times, "Is Raw Milk Safe?" Third: Jennifer Justus, Reporter, The Tennessean, "Homeless But Not Hungry"
Best Newspaper Food Column First: Jennifer Bain, Food Editor, Toronto Star Second: Anne Brockhoff, Freelance Journalist, The Kansas City Star Third: Sophie Brickman, Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle
Best Newspaper Restaurant Criticism First: Jonathan Gold, Staff Writer, LA Weekly Second: Edmund Tijerina, Food Writer, San Antonio Express-News Third: Ian Froeb, Staff Writer, Riverfront Times
Best Newspaper Special Food Project First: Jill Silva, Food Editor/Critic, The Kansas City Star; "Far Away From Food" Second: Kim Ode, Staff Writer, Star Tribune, Minneapolis; "A Bakerʼs Dozen" Third: Jill Silva, Food Editor/Critic, & Cindy Hoedel, Magazine Writer; The Kansas City Star, "35 People, Places and Things That Make Us Drool"
Best Food Feature In A Magazine First: Maureen OʼHagan, The Seattle Times, "School Lunch" Second: Brett Anderson, The Oxford American, "The Great White Hope" Third: Liz Johnson, Freelance Writer, writing in Arrive, Dinner Conversations"
Best Internet Food News Or Feature Story First: Ronni Lundy, Editor in Chief, TheZenchilada.com; "Tamales" Second: Michele Kayal, Freelance Journalist, Associated Press; "Dorie Greenspan: French Food and Flaming Kitchens" Third: Andrew Schneider, Senior Public Health Correspondent, aolnews.com; "Regulated or Not, Nano-Foods Coming to a Store Near You"
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Best Food Visual First: Rob Goebel, Photographer, Indianapolis Star, "Autumn Apples" Second: William Hogan, Studio Photographer, Chicago Tribune, "Strawberry Ice" Third: Daniel Marsula, Art Director, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pressure Cooker"
Best Food Blog First: seattletimes.com/allyoucaneat, Nancy Leson, Food & Restaurant Columnist, The Seattle Times Second: blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate, Staff, Dallas Observer Third: voices.washingtonpost.com/all-we-can-eat/, Food Staff, The Washington Post
Best Food Essay First: Besha Rodell, Food & Drink Editor, Creative Loafing, "Around the Clock at Waffle House" Second: Robert Sietsema, Staff Writer, The Village Voice, "An Open Letter to Josh Ozersky" Third: Jessica Thomson, Writer, Leiteʼs Culinaria (www.leitesculinaria.com); on gluten intolerance
Best Food Multimedia Presentation First: Katharine Shilcutt, Staff Writer, Houston Press Second: Gretchen McKay, Food Writer, & Steve Mellon, Videographer; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and post-gazette.com Third: Tom Sietsema, Restaurant Critic, The Washington Post