James Beard Foundation Announces 2021 Celebration to Shine a Spotlight on the Independent Restaurant Community

The James Beard Foundation announced that their 2021 celebration, James Beard Awards: Stories of Resilience and Leadership, will be a salute to the independent restaurant community, showcasing some of the organizations, leaders, and businesses that have made a significant impact in the industry and their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The show will highlight inspiring stories of passion, community, innovation, resilience, and leadership under extreme hardships during the pandemic. Those being featured are representative of so many in the industry who played and continue to play a part in supporting their communities and the industry. The live broadcast can be viewed via Twitter on September 27 at 7 P.M. CT / 8 P.M. ET / 5 P.M. PT.

In addition to the live broadcast, the Foundation will host 300-400 guests atop the Harris Theater in Chicago to enjoy delicious bites while watching the broadcast. Simultaneously, intimate satellite events in select cities across the country will be hosted to tune in to the broadcast, including:

  • Houston at Lucille’s with Chris Williams, Dawn Burrell, and local host Houston First Corporation
  • San Francisco Bay Area at the Oakland Museum of California’s Town Fare by Tanya Holland, hosted by JBF Awards Committee Chair and board member, Tanya Holland, and featuring chefs Reem Assil of Reem’s California and Dominica Rice-Cisneros of Bombera
  • Philadelphia at SOUTH with Ben Bynum, Stephanie Willis, and local host Visit Philadelphia
  • Washington, D.C. at Moon Rabbit with Kevin Tien

On the night of the event, viewers will be encouraged to host their own watch parties while enjoying bites and other goodies featured in a special Awards party kit edition featuring appetizers from four of our recent James Beard House Fellows, a program that re-envisions the historic James Beard House into a hub of training and professional development for talented emerging chefs. The special party kit will be available for sale in early September.

Additionally, select industry and other guests will enjoy dinners at five restaurants that represent Chicago’s vast culinary landscape, including:

  • avec with Dylan Patel
  • HaiSous with Thai and Danielle Dang
  • Mi Tocaya with Diana Dávila
  • Tzuco with Carlos Gaytán
  • Virtue with Erick Williams

The 2021 James Beard Awards: Stories of Resilience and Leadership are presented by Capital One, the official credit card and banking partner of the James Beard Foundation. Through this first-of-its-kind partnership, Capital One cardholders enjoy unique access to James Beard Foundation programming. The 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, as well as the following sponsors: Premier Sponsors: American Airlines, the official airline of the James Beard Foundation, Deloitte, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Stella Artois; Supporting Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, Marriott Bonvoy®, National Restaurant Association®, Skuna Bay Salmon, White Claw® Hard Seltzer; Patron Sponsors: Windstar Cruises, the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, Ecolab, Kendall College at National Louis University, Lavazza, PeopleVine, and Valrhona, with additional support from Château d’Esclans and VerTerra Dinnerware. Intersport is the Official Broadcast Partner of the 2021 James Beard Awards.

The Foundation recognizes the leadership role that it plays in the restaurant industry through the James Beard Awards and other programs. As was announced in August 2020, the James Beard Awards are undergoing an audit of policies and procedures in order to ensure a more transparent and equitable process for the future. The areas of focus are a code of ethics, composition of voting body and the creation of an Awards mission that supports and is aligned with the Foundation’s values. The audit will be completed later this summer and a final report will be available on jamesbeard.org. The first post-audit James Beard Awards will take place in 2022.

“We look forward to getting together—both virtually and in-person—with the help of our host city of Chicago and culinary hubs across the country,” says Dawn Padmore, vice president of the James Beard Awards, “to acknowledge some of the incredible leaders who have been so dedicated and integral in helping our industry and their communities throughout this past devastating year.”

Through the James Beard Foundation’s Open for Good campaign, the organization is working to provide critical resources to help the independent restaurant industry survive the COVID-19 crisis and come back stronger, more equitable, and more resilient. For information on the Foundation’s Open for Good campaign, please visit jamesbeard.org/openforgood. News about the Awards will be regularly updated and posted to jamesbeard.org/awards and on the Foundation’s social channels (@beardfoundation on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #jbfa).

About the James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation celebrates and supports the people behind America’s food culture, while pushing for new standards in the restaurant industry to create a future where all have the opportunity to thrive. Established over 30 years ago, the Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives and is committed to supporting a resilient and flourishing industry that honors its diverse communities. By amplifying new voices, celebrating those leading the way, and supporting those on the path to do so, the Foundation is working to create a more equitable and sustainable future — what we call Good Food for Good™. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the James Beard Foundation launched the Open for Good campaign to ensure that independent restaurants not only survive, but that the industry is able to rebuild stronger than before. For more information, subscribe to the digital newsletter Beard Bites and follow @beardfoundation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and  Clubhouse. The James Beard Foundation is a national not-for-profit 501c(3) organization based in New York City.

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