The James Beard Foundation announced today that Canlis in Seattle, Washington, known equally for its architectural and culinary artistry, will be honored with the 2019 Design Icon Award.
Canlis, the landmark Seattle restaurant opened in 1950, epitomizes the period’s Northwest Modern movement as interpreted by architect Roland Terry. Looking as warmly modern today as it did nearly seven decades ago, the restaurant has been lovingly maintained by three generations of Canlis: Peter who built the restaurant; his son Chris, who, with his wife Alice, took it over in 1977; and Brian and Mark, the original Canlis’s grandsons who have helmed the restaurant for over the last ten years.
Anchored into the hillside with its massive stone walls, fireplace, and piers and with panoramic views through its enormous raked glass walls, the dramatically cantilevered building is the very icon of Northwest design. The angled walls, its most memorable design feature, allow the nighttime views to be uninterrupted by reflections from the dining room, creating an incredibly transparent effect. Terry’s style at Canlis can be seen as a “fusion cuisine” of Frank Lloyd Wright and the California Modern movement celebrated just down the coast. Wright is visible in the natural materials, enormous hearth, low covered drive, and sensitive siting; as well as the California influence in the sweeping glass and dramatic profile, the lightly framed facades, and the generous proportions.
While the design has, understandably, evolved over the years it is still very much the restaurant that Roland Terry designed, so much so that is has become synonymous with the Canlis brand. Generations of the Canlis family have been remarkable stewards to not just the restaurant but to its building as well.
Canlis has received several James Beard Award nominations over the course of the last ten years and won their first James Beard Award in 2017 for Outstanding Wine Program. “Somehow, this nomination, this award means so much more than all the others,” said Mark Canlis, co-owner of Canlis. “It’s a culmination of what our grandfather set out to do, what our parents so diligently worked towards, and to what we’ve been doing for 15 years now. Three generations of building and running and redefining the most beautiful restaurant we can. To be honored like this is such an affirmation, a big honor. And I mean this as sincerely as I can: I think we’re just getting started.”
The Design Icon Award is chosen by the Restaurant Design Committee. In order to qualify, a dining establishment’s design must have remained substantially unchanged for at least 20 years and must have influenced and inspired the design of subsequent restaurants. Additionally, the restaurant/dining space must still be in operation.
Tickets for this year’s Awards gala in Chicago go on sale March 27, 2019, and the Awards will be broadcast live via the James Beard Foundation’s Twitter feed. On April 26, 2019, the James Beard Media Awards, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
About the 2019 James Beard Awards
The 2019 James Beard Awards celebrations begin in New York City on Friday, April 26, 2019, with the James Beard Media Awards, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists that will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers.
This year’s theme, “Good Food For GoodTM” is synonymous with the James Beard Foundation’s mission. It is the simple summation of what the organization stands for, from unique and delicious dining experiences at the James Beard House and around the country, to scholarships, mentorships, and a variety of industry programs that educate and empower leaders in the food community. The Foundation has built a platform for chefs and asserted the power of gastronomy to drive behavior, culture, and policy change around food. With this theme, the annual Awards aim to bring attention not only to its deserving winners but to the Foundation’s overall mission as well.
The events then move to Chicago, beginning with the Leadership Awards dinner on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at which honorees will be recognized for their work in creating a more healthful, sustainable, and just food world. The James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 6, 2019, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Design Icon, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring chefs and beverage professionals from across the country, including past JBF Award winners and many who are involved in the Foundation’s Impact Programs, from Smart Catch Seafood to Women’s Leadership programs and the James Beard Chefs Bootcamp for Policy and Change. The VIP Dinner chefs, those who cook a multi-course dinner and create an experience in the balcony boxes during the Awards show, will be chefs from the esteemed Union Square Hospitality Group.
The 2019 James Beard Awards are proudly hosted by Choose Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association and presented in association with Chicago O’Hare and Midway International Airports and Magellan Corporation as well as the following partners: Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, American Airlines, HMSHost, Lavazza, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water ; Supporting Sponsors: Hyatt, National Restaurant Association™, Robert Mondavi Winery, Skuna Bay Salmon, TABASCO® Sauce, Valrhona, White Claw® Hard Seltzer, Windstar Cruises; Gala Reception Sponsors: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Ecolab, Front of the House®, Kendall College, with additional support from Chefwear, Loacker and VerTerra Dinnerware.
Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards programs. All James Beard Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia.
About the James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to promote good food for good™. For more than 30 years, the James Beard Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives. Through the James Beard Awards, unique dining experiences at the James Beard House and around the country, scholarships, hands-on learning, and a variety of industry programs that educate and empower leaders in our community, the Foundation has built a platform for chefs and asserted the power of gastronomy to drive behavior, culture, and policy change around food. To that end, the Foundation has also created signature impact-oriented initiatives that include our Women’s Leadership Programs, aimed at addressing the gender imbalance in the culinary industry; advocacy training through our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change; and the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards, which shine a spotlight on successful change makers. The organization is committed to giving chefs and their colleagues a voice and the tools they need to make the world more sustainable, equitable, and delicious for everyone. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org and follow @beardfoundation on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.