James Beard Foundation Announces 2016 Award Hosts

James Beard Foundation Announces 2016 Award HostsCARLA HALL TO HOST 2016 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARDS ON MAY 2, 2016


New York, NY (January 6, 2016) – Today the James Beard Foundation announced that Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s The Chew and restaurateur of the soon to open Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York, will host the 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards, often referred to as the Oscars of the food world. The highly anticipated James Beard Awards ceremony and gala reception will take place on Monday, May 2, 2016, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, James Beard Award winner, chef, and television personality Ming Tsai will host the annual James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards. This “Golden Globe-like” celebration will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

Ever since James Beard appeared on television’s first cooking show, food has been one of the most popular subjects in American broadcasting. Coinciding with the Foundation’s 30th anniversary, the 2016 James Beard Awards will honor the country’s top culinary talent and celebrate the role of cuisine in television. “We’re delighted that Carla Hall and Ming Tsai will bring both their culinary and media talents to shine a light on how television has informed and entertained our world of food,” said Susan Ungaro, president of The James Beard Foundation. “We’re honored to have them act as hosts as we recognize the best of the best in our ever growing and changing food and media community.”

A native of Nashville, Carla Hall’s food journey began at Maryland’s L’Academie de Cuisine, after returning from a trip throughout Europe that awakened her passion for food. Upon completing her culinary training, she went on to work as a sous chef at the Henley Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., and later served as executive chef at both the State Plaza Hotel and the Washington Club. As a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef, Hall won over viewers with her philosophy to always cook with love and, of course, with her bubbly personality. Now, as a co-host of popular ABC lifestyle series The Chew, Hall is seated alongside restaurateurs and James Beard Award winners Mario Batali and Michael Symon, entertaining expert Clinton Kelly, and health and wellness enthusiast Daphne Oz.

Hall’s approach to cooking blends her classic French training and Southern upbringing, both of which she has carried through to her restaurant, Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen, slated to open in Brooklyn in early 2016.  Hall is also a noted cookbook author, penning Carla’s Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes from Around the World, and Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You. In addition to television, restaurants, and cookbooks, Hall is involved in a number of not-for-profit organizations that reflect causes close to her heart, including chef José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen Chef Network, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and Feeding America; she also serves on the advisory boards for the Edible Academy for the New York Botanical Gardens and for the Food and Finance School in New York City.

Ming Tsai’s love of cooking was forged in his early years, cooking alongside his parents at Mandarin Kitchen, the family-owned restaurant in Dayton, Ohio. Throughout his years at Yale University, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering, Tsai spent his summers in Paris and attended Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. He later moved to Paris to train under renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé and then to Osaka to work under sushi master Kobayashi. Upon his return to the United States, Tsai enrolled in graduate school at Cornell University, earning a master’s degree in hotel administration and hospitality marketing. In 1998 Tsai opened Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where he earned the medal for Best Chef: Northeast at the 2002 James Beard Foundation Awards. In February 2013 Tsai opened his second restaurant, Blue Dragon, an Asian gastropub named one of Esquire magazine’s “Best New Restaurants” of the year.

Throughout his career, Tsai has been a fixture on food television with programs on the Food Network, including the Emmy Award-winning East Meets West with Ming Tsai, and on public television with Emmy nominated SIMPLY MING, now in its thirteenth season, in which Tsai is the host and executive producer. In addition to television, he is the author of five cookbooks: Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai; Simply Ming; Ming’s Master Recipes; Simply Ming One-Pot Meals; and Simply Ming in Your Kitchen. In 2012, Tsai was invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to represent the U.S. with the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative/American Chef Corps. The Chef Corps is a network of chefs from around the country who participate in a number of official government programs that use food as a foundation for public diplomacy efforts at home and abroad. Like many chefs, he is most proud to be able to give back. He is president of the National Advisory Board of Family Reach, the only national charity that financially helps families who have a child with cancer.

The Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists will be announced February 17, 2016. Nominees for all award categories will be revealed on March 15, 2016. The James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards will be held at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. The James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony and gala reception will be held at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 2, 2016. During the JBF Awards 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, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.

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 America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. 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 program. All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.

The 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards are presented in association with HMSHost and Mariano’s; and the following partners: Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, American Airlines, Lenox Tableware and Gifts, True Refrigeration®; Supporting Sponsors: Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water, Breville, Goose Island Beer Company, Lavazza, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Valrhona; Gala Reception Sponsors: Ecolab, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts; with additional support from: Chefwear, VerTerra Dinnerware and Wisconsin Cheese. The James Beard Foundation also gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Chicago Department of Aviation, Choose Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association.

About The James Beard Foundation

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org. Get food news, recipes, and more at the James Beard Foundation’s blog. Follow the James Beard Foundation on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.