Grant Achatz of the Chicago restaurant Alinea, who last year overcame a mouth cancer that threatened his life and his ability to taste, was named the country's outstanding chef Sunday night at the 18th James Beard Foundation Awards in New York.
Achatz was among more than 50 culinary professionals who won engraved bronze medallions at the gala at Lincoln Center. The 34-year-old chef, known for his cutting-edge cooking, underwent aggressive chemotherapy last summer and in December announced that his cancer appeared to be in full remission.
Joining him among the winners in top categories: Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali, named outstanding restaurateurs for Babbo in New York; Gramercy Tavern in New York, outstanding restaurant; Central Michel Richard in Washington, D.C., best new restaurant; Gavin Kaysen of Café Boulud in New York, rising star (age 30 or under) chef; and Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, outstanding pastry chef.
Winners in other major categories (for a full list of nominees, visit jamesbeard.org):
Restaurant service: Terra, St. Helena, Calif.
Wine service: Eleven Madison Park, New York.
Wine/spirits professional: Terry Theise, Estate Selections, Silver Spring, Md.
Great Lakes region chef: Carrie Nahabedian, Naha, Chicago.
New York chef: David Chang, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, New York.
Southwest chef: Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colo.
Mid-Atlantic chef: Eric Ziebold, CityZen, Washington, D.C.
Northeast chef: Patrick Connolly, Radius, Boston.
South chef: Michelle Bernstein, Michy's, Miami
Pacific chef: Craig Stoll, Delfina, San Francisco
Midwest chef: Adam Siegel, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro, Milwaukee
Northwest chef: Holly Smith, Café Juanita, Kirkland, Wash.
Southeast chef: Robert Stehling, Hominy Grill, Charleston, S.C.