The James Beard Foundation, whose annual restaurant and chef awards in May are considered among the most prestigious in foodservice, has added a new award category to honor excellence in beverage service.
“The Outstanding Bar Program Award acknowledges the growing importance of cocktails, spirits, and beer in many restaurants and bars,” restaurant and chef awards committee chair Providence Cicero said in a statement. “The new award will recognize establishments that set a high standard of excellence nationally.”
Cicero is the Seattle Times’ restaurant critic.
The James Beard Foundation Awards already have categories for outstanding wine service, which recognizes sommeliers, and outstanding wine and spirits professional, a broader category that recognizes beverage directors, suppliers, educators and others in the alcoholic beverage industry.
The deadline to nominate restaurants for 2012 awards is Dec. 31. Nominations can be made online.
The foundation also added new categories to its journalism awards.
• Food coverage in a general interest publication, which recognizes excellence in food writing, reporting, and packaging of regularly published food coverage in a publication that doesn’t focus on food. They can be print, digital, or both.
• Food coverage in a food-focused publication, which recognizes a food-focused publication for writing, reporting, and packaging. The publication can be a magazine, newspaper, web site, or other medium.
• “Visual Storytelling” awards excellence in photography, graphic design, and photojournalism. The deadline for submissions for consideration in those and other journalism, broadcast, and restaurant graphic and design awards is Jan. 6.
Finalists for next year’s awards will be announced March 12, 2012, in Las Vegas.
The Books, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards will be held on May 4, 2012, in New York.
The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala, at which the chef and restaurant awards are presented, will be held May 7, 2012, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York.
— Bret Thorn, NRN.com