Portland is coming home empty-handed from the James Beard Foundation restaurant awards tonight; Edouardo Jordan of Seattle’s Junebaby and Salare took home the James Beard for our region over Portland’s own. The Chew’s Carla Hall hosted the James Beard Foundation awards at Lyric Opera in Chicago, where Chopped hosts Amanda Freitag and Alex Guarnaschelli awarded the Best Chef: Northwest to Jordan. Portland chefs Katy Millard (Coquine), Bonnie Morales (Kachka), and Justin Woodward (Castagna) were nominated for the Best Chef: Northwest category, while downtown cocktail holy ground Clyde Common was nominated for Outstanding Bar Program (Cure in New Orleans took home that award). Portland had already taken home a 2018 Beard before Monday night’s award ceremony; Joshua McFadden of Italian vegetable-friendly spot Ava Gene’s took home a media award for his cookbook Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. McFadden wrote the book with food writer Martha Holmberg.
Oregonian restaurant critic Michael Russell had put his (figurative... as far as Eater knows) money on Jordan. The chef was nominated for both Best New Restaurant (for Junebaby) and Best Chef: Northwest, but Russell expected him to win the latter. “Junebaby is probably the favorite for Best New Restaurant, though that’s a tougher category to call. It’s a stacked field, and the national award winners have historically had an #EastCoastBias,” he tweeted. He followed that tweet with this caveat: “On the other hand, Jordan is a fantastic chef. I’ve said this before, but Junebaby is the one restaurant I most wish were in Portland (luckily, it’s only a shortish train ride away).” The chef took home both awards. Eater PDX endorsed Morales for the category.
Three of the five #JamesBeard Best Chef Northwest nominees are Portlanders. A fourth spot went to Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, the duo behind Portland's Revelry. Yet the smart money is on Seattle's Edouardo Jordan (Junebaby) taking home the award tonight.— Michael Russell (@tdmrussell) May 7, 2018
The James Beard Awards are often known as the Oscars of the food world, and taking home one of the famous Oregonian’s medals is one of the top honors for chefs and food journalists in the United States.
• James Beard Foundation [Official]
• How to Watch the James Beard Awards Online [Eater]
• Ava Gene’s Joshua McFadden Takes Home a James Beard for his Vegetable-Happy Cookbook [EPDX]
• Here Are the 2018 Portland James Beard Nominees [EPDX]
• Edouardo Jordan Wins Two James Beard Awards [Eater Seattle]
Updated May 8, 2018, 9:12 a.m.
This story has been updated to include information about Edouardo Jordan’s Best New Restaurant win.