Three New Orleanians won James Beard Awards May 1 at a ceremony in Chicago.
Rebecca Wilcomb (see 3-Course interview, page 28) of Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave., 504-524-1414; www.herbsaint.com) was named Best Chef: South. Wilcomb's win continues a streak for New Orleans chefs in the category. Last year's award went to Justin Devillier (La Petite Grocery, Balise), and Alon Shaya took home the win in 2015.
Chef de cuisine Zachary Engel of Shaya (4213 Magazine St., 504-891-4213; www.shayarestaurant.com) was named the Rising Star Chef of the Year, adding to the accolades Alon Shaya's acclaimed modern Israeli restaurant has racked up in the last two years. The award is given to chefs who are 30 years old or younger, "display an impressive talent" and are expected to have a significant impact on the industry.
Arnaud's French 75 Bar (813 Bienville St., 504-523-5433; www.arnaudsrestaurant.com) won Outstanding Bar Program. Head bartender Chris Hannah accepted the award and gave a shout out to Neal Bodenheimer and Cure (4905 Freret St., 504-302-2357; www.curenola.com), another New Orleans nominee in the category.
The winning New Orleans trio were among 11 local chefs and restaurants nominated for awards this year.
The theme of the award cere- mony was social media, and throughout the evening, chefs discussed the way social media has shaped today's culinary world. There were also several tributes to immigrant chefs and the contributions they've made to American cuisine.