James Beard Foundation Names Richard Melman For Lifetime Achievement Award

The James Beard Foundation has just announced the 2015 recipients of its special annual awards: the Lifetime Achievement award and the Humanitarian Award. The 2015 awards have been respectively awarded to Richard Melman, CEO of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and Chicago restaurateur; and Michel Nischan, founder of the Wholesome Wave Foundation, a sustainable, local foods movement. Both award recipients will be honored at this year's James Beard Awards in Chicago.

"These two honors are standing ovation moments during our awards ceremony," said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, in a statement. "I am so delighted we are honoring two men whose contributions to our industry have spanned decades and impacted countless lives. We know that they will continue to share their knowledge, good work, and love of the food world for years to come."

Richard Melman, as founder of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, owns more than 100 restaurants nationwide, and has two James Beard Award wins under his belt. Most recently, The Daily Meal reported on his newest enterprise, Intro, a restaurant that changes chefs/menus/concepts three to four times annually, to showcase the talents of up-and-coming chefs.

Chef Michel Nischan, owner and founder of Dressing Room: a Homegrown Restaurant in Westport, Connecticut, has been a leader of the sustainable and local food movement for the past 30 years. His non-profit organization, Wholesome Wave, "aims to allow people in underserved food areas to make healthier food choices by increasing affordability and access to locally grown food and provides local farm business with increased revenue opportunities," according to the James Beard Foundation.

The rest of the 2015 James Beard award nominees will be announced on March 24 at the James Beard House.