Winners of James Beard journalism awards includes controversial fictitious persona

It's perhaps one of the sexiest, most controversial wins the James Beard Foundation Awards has hosted in a while.

The winner of the first ever humor category at this year's James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner on Friday went to Ruth Bourdain, the snarky, fictitious mash-up and Twitter avatar of Ruth Reichl and Anthony  Bourdain.

After more than a year of tweeting expletive-laced, pithy, 140-character laugh-out-loud tweets, the identity of this culinary anti-hero still remains shrouded in mystery - a formidable feat in a foodie world where gossip runs wild.

Not surprisingly, when the real Ruth Bourdain was asked to stand up and accept the award, there was only silence, save for this online reaction: "I just want to zest you all and smoke you right now. Absinthe smoothies for everyone after the ceremony!" he/she tweeted.

Ruth Bourdain takes former Gourmet magazine editor Reichl's haiku-like tweets and "mashes" them with Bourdain's trucker-talk parlance - comedically-timed F-bombs that punctuate caustic narratives dripping with sarcasm.

But when it was announced that the Twitter persona - up to then just a fun way to fill one's daily quota of pithy-one liners - had been nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award earlier this year, it ignited a minor storm of discontent among food writers.

A thread that began on an online forum for the Association of Food Journalists criticized the nomination for undermining serious food journalism and cheapening the awards.

The real Bourdain, for his part, is a strong supporter of his online mutant offspring as is Reichl.

In defense of the nomination, Bourdain wrote a scathing response on his blog in March saying, "Coming from a profession whose vast majority spend their hours and days writing about ‘kicky new muffin recipes,'  'Pie: The Next Big Thing' or attending launches for bottled water, restaurant openings, and anywhere they can fill their plastic lined pockets with free food and swag - the whole notion of someone-anyone -'cheapening' the business sounds like a bunch of old hookers complaining about the new girl who kisses on the lips."

Meanwhile, other winners at the James Beard journalism awards include Diana Kennedy's Oaxaca al Gusto, which was named the Cookbook of the Year. Kennedy has been described as the Julia Child of Mexican cuisine, with 50 years of experience behind her.

On Food and Cooking: The Science & Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee was inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame. The book was first published in 1984 and merges science with food.

Awards for outstanding chef and restaurant will be live-streamed Monday from New York at 6 pm EDT at http://blog.jamesbeard.org/awardslive/.

Here are a few other major wins from the book, broadcast and journalism categories:

Cooking from a Professional Point of View
Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine

by René Redzepi

General Cooking
The Essential New York Times Cook Book: Classic Recipes for a New Century
by Amanda Hesser

International
Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories
by Grace Young

Photography
Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine
Photographer: Ditte Isager

Audio Webcast or Radio Show
CBC Ideas: "Pasta: The Long and Short of It"
Host: Megan Williams
Area: Canada and Online

TV Food Personality/Host
Alton Brown
Show: Good Eats

Television Program, In Studio or Fixed Location
Top Chef: Season 7
Host: Padma Lakshmi
Network: Bravo

Television Program, On Location
Avec Eric
Host: Eric Ripert

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award
Patric Kuh
Los Angeles
" Animal Magnetism," " Making their Move," " Time for a Redo?"

Food Section of a General Interest Publication
San Francisco Chronicle
Jon Bonné and Miriam Morgan

Group Food Blog
Grub Street New York - Daniel Maurer, Jenny Miller, and Alan Sytsma

Individual Food Blog
Politics of the Plate - Barry Estabrook

M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award
Jonathan Gold - LA Weekly
" A Movable Beast"

Personal Essay
Tom Junod
Esquire
" My Mom Couldn't Cook"

 

 

 

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test