2011 James Beard Award Winners: José Andrés, Eleven Madison Park, ABC Kitchen & More

José Andrés, Danny Meyer Win Big At James Beard Awards

*Scroll down for the complete list of 2011 James Beard Foundation Award winners*

J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press:

Small plates have earned Jose Andres one of the food world's biggest honors.

The man credited with popularizing tapas – the Spanish custom of dining on small, shared plates – was named the nation's most outstanding chef Monday during the James Beard Foundation's annual awards ceremony, the so-called Oscars of the culinary crowd.

Andres has been praised for a string of successful restaurants around the country – most notably Jaleo and minibar by Jose Andres in Washington, D.C. – which challenged the conventional thinking that anything but heaping portions would leave American diners unsatisfied.

Recently, Andres – who grew up outside Barcelona and moved to the U.S. 21 years ago after training with famed Spanish chef Ferran Adria – has become known almost as much for his politics as for what he puts on the plate. He has spoken often – and even lobbied friends in Congress – on issues including school lunch standards, childhood obesity, hunger, subsidies for agribusiness and food marketing.

"Food is the most powerful thing we have in our hands. Not only chefs, but everyone in the food community. The right use of food can end hunger," Andres said Monday after accepting his award. "We have the responsibility to make sure that not only our great nation, but the world will always be better using food in the right way."

The James Beard awards honor those who follow in the footsteps of Beard, considered the dean of American cooking when he died in 1985. The awards ceremony was held in New York, where the Beard Foundation is based. Monday's ceremony honored chefs and restaurants; a similar event on Friday was held for book and other media awards.

Last year's top chef was "Top Chef" judge Tom Colicchio. This year, Andres beat out Gary Danko of Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco; Suzanne Goin of Lucques in Los Angeles;Paul Kahan of Blackbird in Chicago; and Charles Phan of The Slanted Door in San Francisco.

The foundation's award for outstanding restaurant went to Danny Meyer's Eleven Madison Park in New York. It is known for its tasting-style menu that lists dishes only by key ingredient and encourages diners to work with the chef to create individualized meals. The restaurant's pastry chef, Angela Pinkerton, got the foundation's honor for most outstanding pastry chef.

"I am so proud of what this team has done ... to have really created a four-star restaurant for the future," Meyer said Monday. "A new kind of four-star restaurant."

Last year, the organization named the restaurant's executive chef, Daniel Humm, the city's top chef. The restaurant has earned a total of five Beard awards.

Best new restaurant went to Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen in New York, which focuses on local, organic and seasonal foods. Rising star chef of the year went to Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland, Ore., a nod to that city's increasingly robust food scene.

The outstanding service award went to New York's Per Se, owned by the much-lauded Thomas Keller. Outstanding restaurateur went to Richard Melman, whose Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago is behind more than 30 restaurants, including that city's Tru restaurant.

During Friday's event, the foundation gave a nod to the power of social media in the food world when it awarded its first humor writing honors to the fictitious online character Ruth Bourdain, an anonymously written mash-up of culinary icons Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain.

Ruth Bourdain became a profanely funny sensation mostly via Twitter, where he (or she?) would joust with and poke fun at the culinary elite. And the anonymity of the character's creator endured despite receiving a major award; no one stepped forward to accept the award.

On Monday, the Beard Foundation also named its top regional chefs around the country: Alex Young of Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Great Lakes region); Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philadelphia (Mid-Atlantic); Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery in Minneapolis (Midwest); Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune (New York City); Tony Maws of Craigie On Main in Cambridge, Mass. (Northeast); Andy Ricker of Pok Pok in Portland, Ore. (Northwest); Michael Tusk of Quince in San Francisco (Pacific); Stephen Stryjewski of Cochon in New Orleans (South); Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Southeast); and Saipin Chutima of Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas and Tyson Cole of Uchi in Austin, Texas (Southwest).

The organization's Lifetime Achievement award went to Kevin Zraly, wine educator and author of "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course."

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The 2011 chef and restaurant James Beard Foundation Award Winners (winners in bold):

To see the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award winners in books, broadcast and journalism, click here.

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEARAaron London, Ubuntu, Napa, CAThomas McNaughton, flour + water, San FranciscoGabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon, Portland, ORChristina Tosi, Momofuku Milk Bar, NYCSue Zemanick, Gautreau's, New Orleans

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONALSam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DEMerry Edwards, Merry Edwards Winery, Sebastopol, CAPaul Grieco, Hearth and Terroir, NYCRajat Parr, Mina Group, San FranciscoJulian Van Winkle III, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, Louisville, KY

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICEA16, San Francisco, Shelley LindgrenBlackberry Farm, Walland, TN, Andy ChabotFrasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO, Bobby StuckeyThe Modern, NYC, Belinda ChangPicasso at Bellagio, Las Vegas, Robert Smith

BEST CHEF: GREAT LAKESMichael Carlson, Schwa, ChicagoCurtis Duffy, Avenues at the Peninsula, ChicagoBruce Sherman, North Pond, ChicagoPaul Virant, Vie, Western Springs, ILAlex Young, Zingerman's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI

BEST CHEF: MID-ATLANTICCathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, VAJohnny Monis, Komi, Washington, D.C.Peter Pastan, Obelisk, Washington, D.C.Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama, Hoboken, NJMichael Solomonov, Zahav, Philadelphia

BEST CHEF: MIDWESTJustin Aprahamian, Sanford, MilwaukeeIsaac Becker, 112 Eatery, MinneapolisColby Garrelts, Bluestem, Kansas City, MOTory Miller, L'Etoile, Madison, WILenny Russo, Heartland, St. Paul, MN

BEST CHEF: NEW YORK CITYMichael Anthony, Gramercy TavernApril Bloomfield, The Spotted PigWylie Dufresne, wd~50Gabrielle Hamilton, PruneMichael White, Marea

BEST CHEF: NORTHEASTTim Cushman, o ya, BostonKrista Kern Desjarlais, Bresca, Portland, MEGerry Hayden, The North Fork Table & Inn, Southold, NYMatt Jennings, La Laiterie, ProvidenceTony Maws, Craigie On Main, Cambridge, MAEric Warnstedt, Hen of the Wood, Waterbury, VT

BEST CHEF: PACIFICMichael Cimarusti, Providence, Los AngelesChristopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CADaniel Patterson, COI, San FranciscoRichard Reddington, Redd, Yountville, CAMichael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco

BEST CHEF: NORTHWESTMatt Dillon, Sitka & Spruce, SeattleChristopher Israel, Grüner, Portland, ORAndy Ricker, Pok Pok, Portland, OREthan Stowell, Staple & Fancy, Mercantile, SeattleCathy Whims, Nostrana, Portland, OR

BEST CHEF: SOUTHZach Bell, Café Boulud, Palm Beach, FLJohn Harris, Lilette, New OrleansChris Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, ALTory McPhail, Commander's Palace, New OrleansStephen Stryjewski, Cochon, New Orleans

BEST CHEF: SOUTHEASTHugh Acheson, Five and Ten, Athens, GACraig Deihl, Cypress, Charleston, SCJohn Fleer, Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley, Cashiers, NCLinton Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene, AtlantaEdward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville, KYAndrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, NC

BEST CHEF: SOUTHWESTBruce Auden, Biga on the Banks, San AntonioBryan Caswell, Reef, HoustonSaipin Chutima, Lotus of Siam, Las VegasTyson Cole, Uchi, Austin, TX* Ryan Hardy, Montagna at the Little Nell, Aspen, CO

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT DESIGNDesign Firm: Aidlin Darling DesignDesigners: Joshua Aidlin, Roslyn Cole, and David DarlingProject: Bar Agricole, San Francisco

Design Firm: Bestor ArchitectureDesigners: Barbara Bestor, John Colter, and Cathy JohnsonProject: Pitfire Pizza, Los Angeles

Design Firm: Natoma Architects Inc.Designer: Stanley SaitowitzProject: Toast, Novato, CA

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT GRAPHICSFor the best restaurant graphics executed in North America since January 1, 2008

Design Firm: Katie BarcelonaDesigner: Katie BarcelonaProject: L'Artusi, NYC

Design Firm: Love and WarDesigner: Katie TullyProject: The National Bar & Dining Rooms, NYC

Design Firm: JNL Graphic DesignDesigners: Donald Madia and Jason PicklemanProject: The Publican, Chicago

OUTSTANDING SERVICECanlis, SeattleEmeril's, New OrleansLa Grenouille, NYCPer Se, NYCTopolobampo, Chicago

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEFJoanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Café, BostonPatrick Fahy, Blackbird, ChicagoDahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los AngelesAngela Pinkerton, Eleven Madison Park, NYCMindy Segal, Mindy's HotChocolate Restaurant and Dessert Bar, Chicago

BEST NEW RESTAURANTABC Kitchen, NYCBenu, San FranciscoGirl & the Goat, ChicagoMenton, BostonTorrisi Italian Specialties, NYC

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEURBruce Bromberg and Eric BrombergTom DouglasPat KuletoRichard MelmanPhil Suarez

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANTBlue Hill, NYCBoulevard, San FranciscoEleven Madison Park, NYCHighlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, ALVetri, Philadelphia

OUTSTANDING CHEFJosé Andrés, minibar by José Andrés, Washington, D.C.Gary Danko, Restaurant Gary Danko, San FranciscoSuzanne Goin, Lucques, Los AngelesPaul Kahan, Blackbird, ChicagoCharles Phan, The Slanted Door, San Francisco

To see the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award winners in books, broadcast and journalism, click here.

* Tie -- the eighth in James Beard Award history

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