| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 6 Two Americans chefs representing
different culinary styles shared the country's highest cooking
honor on Monday.
The James Beard Foundation named David Chang, who has helped
popularize kimchi and other Korean food in the United States,
and Paul Kahan, who has been praised for his creative American
cuisine, as outstanding U.S. chefs this year.
Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation lauded
Kahan as a "great chef who's creative with a casual flair,"
while Chang "has brought a modern approach to Asian cuisine that
no one else has done before."
It is only the third time in the 20-year-plus history of the
awards that its premier prize went to more than one chef. The
last time it happened was in 1998 when two European-born chefs,
Wolfgang Puck and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, tied. Pioneering
chefs Larry Forgione and Jean-Louis Palladin were co-winners in
Other past winners of the top award include Thomas Keller,
Mario Batali and Tom Colicchio.
The foundation, whose name is a tribute to American food
writer James Beard, was founded in 1986 with the goal to
recognize and preserve American food history and traditions.
Chang and Kahan both operate Michelin-star restaurants as
well as casual eateries.
Chang has expanded his business beyond New York City where
he landed on the culinary map in 2004 when he opened the
Momofuku Noodle Bar. He now has acclaimed restaurants in Toronto
Kahan has stuck with his Midwest roots with Blackbird and
its sister restaurant, which is called avec, next door in
For the two, the win was a platform to express their mutual
"Blackbird is one of my favorite restaurants," said Chang.
"It set a tone to create something I would like to do and
Kahan added: "We draw inspiration from each other. He thinks
outside the box."
The Blue Hill restaurant, co-owned by chef Dan Barber, won
outstanding U.S. restaurant. Barber, a pioneer of the
"farm-to-table" concept, was awarded the title of outstanding
chef in 2009.
Chef Danny Bowien won the "rising star" prize. The
Korean-born chef, who grew up in Oklahoma, has generated buzz
for his innovative spins on Chinese dishes at his Mission
Chinese Food restaurants in New York and San Francisco.
"It's a small shift from super serious food," Bowien said.
Brooks Headley claimed best U.S. pastry chef this year for
his work at the Michelin-star Italian restaurant Del Posto.
The best new restaurant accolade was awarded to State Bird
Provisions in San Francisco. The restaurant, opened by the
husband and wife team Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinki, has won
praises for their playful mix of small plates served Chinese
In non-competition categories, Cecilia Chiang, who helped
introduce northern Chinese food to America, earned the group's
lifetime achievement, while celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse was
named humanitarian of the year.
(Reporting by Richard Leong; editing by Patricia Reaney and