James Beard Awards names José Andrés Outstanding Chef
Tuesday 10 May 2011
A highly decorated chef who has become a regular guest in living rooms across the US and is widely cited as Spain's unofficial ambassador to Americans took home the title of Outstanding Chef at the James Beard Foundation Awards Monday night.
North American television audiences know José Andrés for his warm, friendly face, his charming Spanish accent, and the childlike exuberance he displays for his native Spanish cuisine as host of the 2008 PBS series Made in Spain.
An episode of 60 Minutes hosted by Anderson Cooper profiling Andrés also won a James Beard Award this year for best television segment.
The food world, meanwhile, knows him for importing molecular gastronomy to the US and revolutionizing a culinary tradition beyond grilling, steaming and frying.
As an early protégé of the legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià at El Bulli, Andrés arrived in the US armed with a culinary arsenal the North American food world had never seen before - a philosophy that has paved the way for luminaries of molecular gastronomy like Grant Achatz and Homaru Canto.
Shortly after his award was announced, Andrés responded to his win on his Twitter account, saying "im ssssssooooo happy! thanks to all" and "People of america! thanks for all! my award goes to you all!"
In the 60 Minutes profile, Andrés is described as the ultimate American success story as he arrived in the US 21 years ago with little more than $50 in his pocket and a set of cooking knives - the archetypal 'live the American dream' tale.
Fans also took to Twitter to congratulate the chef, with praise coming from as far away as Asia.
The award was a long time coming for Andrés, who first gained the attention of the James Beard Foundation in 2003 when he was awarded Best Chef in the mid-Atlantic category. Since then, he's also been hailed as the "hero of the Spanish revolution" by Food & Wine magazine, and was one of GQ magazine's Man of the Year in 2009.
His Washington D.C. restaurant minibar - an intimate six-seat setting that serves 30 tapas courses - is where science elevates food to surprising heights: eel is cocooned in a cloud of cotton candy, caramelized popcorn makes fire-breathing dragons of diners, and Andrés reinterprets bagel and lox with salmon caviar and cream cheese in a cone.
Last fall, Andrés also taught a course of culinary physics at Harvard University with friend and mentor Ferran Adrià.
Under the ThinkFoodGroup, his restaurant empire spans both US coasts with recent additions that include The Bazaar in Los Angeles, and Jaleo Las Vegas at The Cosmopolitan.
Meanwhile, a tasting menu at minibar costs $150 and takes reservations one month in advance.
To watch the 60 Minutes profile, visit http://youtube/pZQzHzkmA3o .
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