WASHINGTON–The 2014 Oscars are Sunday, but the semifinalists for the so- called Food Oscars, or the James Beard Awards, were announced last week.
“It’s really a night in May when the food industry gets together and just celebrates the best of the best,” says Mary Beth Albright, WTOP foodie and food lawyer. “Washington D.C., this area, is really just awash in great talent.”
On May 2 and 5, the awards will recognize the best food and beverage professionals in the country. This includes restaurants, chefs, mixologists, cookbook authors and food journalists.
“The nominations come from industry people,” Albright says. “Everything is culled down by the best of the best in the industry. This is a review of your peers, it’s just like the Academy. All of these people that I’m about to mention would like to thank the academy of food cognoscenti.”
Roses Luxury, a small, family-style restaurant on Capitol Hill that takes no reservations, has been nominated for the best new restaurant in the country.
Albright pointed out that, although there are some restaurants that fly under the radar, Roses Luxury deserves its nomination.
“There are certain restaurants that you just really love that people love but don’t necessarily get a lot of media attention,” she says. “Rose’s Luxury has started getting a lot of media attention, obviously, but for the right reasons.”
Other restaurant nominations include Jaleo and Vidalia for most outstanding restaurant in the country, Komi and Marcel’s for outstanding service and Cityzen and Marcel’s for outstanding wine program.
Tiffany MacIsaac from Birch & Barley was nominated for outstanding pastry chef. “She’s amazing, so we’re really pushing for her, and she’s the only one in D.C. up for pastry chef,” Albright says.
One nomination for best chef went to Tony Chittum, the Executive Chef for Iron Gate, which opened in November. “It just opened. It’s the oldest operating restaurant in D.C., but Neighborhood Restaurant Group just took it over and redid it,” Albright says. “It’s Greek and Southern Italian. It’s fantastic – I was just there last week.”