Yesterday the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for the 2014 James Beard Award. Seven of the semi-finalists for the prestigious awards are Dallas-based, including Matt McAllister of FT33, David Uygur of Lucia and newcomer Trinity Groves restaurant Casa Rubia.
This selection obviously includes some of the best chefs in the city, but the James Beard Awards are like the stuffiest award since the National Library Association's Maude T. Wickersham's Model Librarian of the Year award. Which is not a real award. Sounds pretty boring though, right?
Instead of worrying your pretty little head about this will finally be the year that the James Beard Foundation shakes a little of their anti-anything that isn't LA or New York-based prejudice, focus on the newly made up in my head 2014 Snarky James Beard Awards. These guys are already winners, and we didn't even have to fly Spirit Airlines to New York, airbnb half of a Brooklyn dumpster and wear pants to a dinner to find that out.
John Tesar (above) Most Creative New Restaurant Name I really have no idea where John Tesar even comes up with these ideas for restaurant names! He probably stays up really late at night contemplating which new kitchen equipment to name his newest venture after. "Is Plate already taken," he asks? "Does Colander accurately convey the mix of sophisticated and subtle that I'm going for in this concept?" These are questions he probably would ask himself if he weren't too busy putting his glasses on all the wrong parts of his face.
Jay Jerrier Exemplary Use of Pizza To Satisfy Pissed Off Yelp Reviewers It's no secret that restaurateur and Cane Rosso owner Jay Jerrier's Neopolitan style pisses off a few mouthy Yelp! reviewers, but Jay obviously loves them back. With the opening of New York-style pizza joint Zoli's in the Bishop Arts District, Jerrier gave pissed off Yelp!-ers the pizza they finally wanted, complete with no soggy tip, and it is amazing. I don't even care that Jerrier (partly) opened Zoli's to satisfy annoying people who don't get pizza, it's too damn good. Even if James Beard isn't knocking on your door this year, Jay, I always will be.
Matt McAllister Outstanding Use of Trinity River Bottoms Foraged Produce Matt McCallister could probably put dirt on a plate at FT33 and Dallas diners would line up around the corner and happily plunk down $50 for it. With his dedication to local food, I can only imagine that he spends at least half of any given day rummaging around the Trinity River bottoms searching for some weird new flora to artfully arrange on a plate. Or pickle. Or turn into some other brilliant concoction like Rye Grass Pesto With Fresh Trinity Cricket Legs. I'd still probably eat it.
Phil Romano Best New Restaurant Empire Overlord Phil Romano is taking over Dallas. Literally. Look around your block, and you're probably going to see a property that this guy owns. I, for one, welcome our new overlord -- the Trinity Groves concept is a fresh twist in his quest for the world's largest restaurant monopoly. I'm already convinced that he's invented some kind of addictive chemical that makes you constantly crave EatZi's Bada Bing! dip and bread, so it wouldn't surprise me if he was conning the folks at Souk and Casa Rubia into adding mind control devices to our dinner plates. Email to Friend