Chefs are the heart of our kitchens.
They work under the most challenging of conditions, heat, and pressure. They certainly deserve our thanks and our recognition.
This episode of the Restaurant Rockstars Podcast is all about the James Beard Foundation and most importantly, the famous awards each year. Our guests are Dawn Padmore and Tanya Holland who lead the awards committee.
Listen on as Dawn & Tanya share:
- The incredible legacy of James Andrew Beard, famous chef, author lecturer, and television personality
- The prestige and history of the JBF Awards
- How the deserving candidates are recognized and nominated
- New categories of awards and criteria for selection
And importantly, what the James Beard Foundation is doing to advance racial and gender equality, as well as sustainability in our industry.
Don’t miss this episode, then keep ROCKING Your Restaurant!
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We have to be open to having these discussions with our colleagues. And there’s no shame and failure, failure is a lesson. It’s a tool for growth. And, you know, I think we should all be open to sharing what we’ve experienced. And, you know, so that the next generation of operators can, you know, have some advantage that’s, that’s going to advance the entire industry, that’s not going to give someone an advantage on you. And, you know, I’m just not a fan of this, like, sort of hoarding of information because I think we all grow and learn when we share it. And I, you know, that’s what I would encourage. You know, people going into industry, I always say, when I speak to people, I say, talk to as many people who will listen and listen to as many people who will talk
Roger Beaudoin 0:55
to you again, audience for tuning in to the restaurant, rockstars podcast. You know, James Andrew beard needs no introduction, famous for cooking school, being a TV personality, famous chef, famous author, and of course, the James Beard Foundation awards. Well, that’s what this episode is all about. It’s really the gold standard for chefs. Chefs, of course, are the life of our business. Obviously, our restaurants couldn’t survive without them. So I’m really pleased to offer this episode talking all about the James Beard Awards, what the foundation is all about what their mission is all about how the raising the standard for gender equality and sustainability. This episode has it all two ladies that are head of the awards committee, we’re going to talk all about the criteria for the awards and how you win and how you’re nominated. And all the ins and outs of what James Beard Foundation is all about. So stay tuned.
You’re tuned in to the restaurant rockstars podcast, powerful ideas to rock your restaurant. Here’s your host, Roger Beaudoin, when
Roger Beaudoin 2:03
people go to restaurants for lots of reasons. What the customer doesn’t know is the 1000s of details it takes to run a great restaurant. This is a high risk high failed business. It’s a treacherous road and SMART operators need a professional guide. I’m Roger. I’ve started many highly successful high profit restaurants. I’m passionate about helping other owners and managers not just succeed, but knock it out of the park. You don’t just want to run a restaurant, you want to dominate your competition and create a lasting legacy. Join the academy and I’ll show you how it’s done.
Roger Beaudoin 2:40
Welcome back, everyone to the restaurant rockstars Podcast. I’m really excited because the James Beard Foundation and the James Beard Awards need no introduction, illustrious program and with me today, Don Padmore, the Vice President of awards and Tanya Holland, who is the chair of the James Beard Foundation awards committee. Welcome to the show, ladies.
Thank you. Thank you. It’s good to be here.
Roger Beaudoin 3:05
pleased to have you both here. We’re gonna get into all about the awards and what the James Beard Foundation is all about. But before we do, I’d love to ask you. This is a business of passion. It’s a business of creativity. And it’s a business of hospitality. Now everyone’s got a story of how they got into this business. And it’s I’m sure it’s very interesting, but I’d like to ask each of you, you know what your story is when it comes to hospitality?
I’ll let Tanya go first.
Okay. Well, I mean, hospitality really started in my home, I grew up with parents who are from the south from Shreveport, Louisiana. I grew up in Rochester, New York, and they moved there when I was two, because my dad got a job with Kodak and they were making new friends and the way they made friends were inviting them over for dinner, just sort of some of the food they grew up eating that they missed. And they also founded a gourmet cooking club that lasted 20 years. And this is an early 70s. And, you know, the beginning it was three white couples and three black couples that’s as diverse as community was, but that was significant back then. And they cooked food from soup to nuts from all over the world, American regional food. And, you know, they got these recipes from Time Life. They had, you know, beverage pairings, and so a lot of those dishes ended up in my mom’s repertoire. So I grew up eating matzah ball soup, chicken catch Tory, you know, they did a Polynesian luau. They did the Alsatian Ryan dinner, Pennsylvania Dutch, they did a Jewish theater, you know, so I just like was fortunate enough to be exposed to that and then I got to college. And I started when I moved into my first apartment with friends. My second year I started hosting dinner parties and working as a server in the restaurant business. So that’s where I started And I moved to New York in the late 80s. And was very inspired by that business. It was just exciting and it was diverse. And I saw this gap in the market I hadn’t seen in a restaurant that reflected the cuisine of my heritage, where the food, the hospitality, the service, the decor all came together. And so I decided I want to do that and went to cooking school in France, I was fortunate to work for some of the best chefs in New York, Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, before moving to California in 2001. And then I decided I wasn’t going to work in the restaurant business anymore, I decided to write a cookbook, I was on the Food Network. And then somebody said, if you want to open your restaurant, I’ll invest. So I went back into it and found it brancher kitchen in 2008. And I’m very passionate about hospitality, more than cooking. Even I just love providing people with an experience bringing them together, I love the you know, just the, you know, the way people can interact over food just break down, it breaks down barriers, and just, you know, makes an even playing field. So that’s some of my story. I don’t want to take up all the time.
Roger Beaudoin 6:18
That is a that is a great definition of hospitality. And food, of course, is the universal language. It is, like you said it brings people together diverse cultures, diverse races, it’s all about that, that is just a wonderful thing. It’s interesting. You mentioned the Food Network. And also I understand that you’ve competed on Top Chef, I mean, these are really, really illustrious type. You know, it raises the profile of chefs in general, and lots of people watch cooking shows. And some of these are obviously really, really popular. And you have a new show coming out. I understand on HBO, it’s called Selena and chef with Selena Gomez. So how do you how did you discover these opportunities? Did they find you? Did you find them? It’s just a part and parcel of your career. But tell us about that. So
most, most of them all found me. But you know, it’s all based on the relationships I’ve been building over time and my reputation that I’ve built by, you know, the people that I’ve worked for, and the work that I’ve done, and you know, people have come to trust me, and I was telling somebody asked me that the other day, how to make it happen. I said, you know, it’s being prepared, as everybody says, always, you know, it’s like, half the sentence is preparation. Being responsive when people reach out to me, so you know, responding right away. There’s a chef here who told me just give the journalists your cell phones, like don’t worry about it, you know, and answer when they call, you know, so of course, um, but right place at the right time, literally the first opportunity, the Food Network, I was, you know, taking a break from cooking, and I was waiting tables in Manhattan. And I had taken some classes at Peter calm. So it’s kind of the pseudo alum, which is now the Institute of Culinary Education. But Peter come was a contemporary of James Beard and Julia Child, and he found it on the Upper East Side. So the director of career placement called me and said, I told them, I was looking for a sous chef job or executive, sous chef, and he said, I don’t have that. But the Food Network is looking for an African American female chef. And I wonder if you’re interested, like, Well, yeah, I think so. You know, and I, I only done one appearance at a local show in Boston. And so it was, you know, it was a bit scary going in front of the camera, but they put us through media training. And again, that’s just, you know, timing and relationships. And, you know, Selena, and Chef, they reached out to me, I’ve been wanting to do more television. And I, you know, I make a lot of calls. And it’s sort of, I’m just a believer of you put it out there into the ether to the universe, whatever you believe, and you have intentions. And you keep talking to people about it. And that’s, that’s how it manifests. I mean, I’m, you know, I’m really, I’ve always been very goal oriented and ambitious, and, but also open to what it might look like, you know, you just never know, like, when I was in cooking school, I never imagined being on television, because I thought it was a place for older people ended up meaning like Julia Child, and Jacqueline Pat, you know, who are significantly older than me, right? So I thought, well, by the time I’m six years 70, maybe I’ll do TV but who knew that, you know, the meat it was going to change and you know, their opportunities would be come sooner.
Roger Beaudoin 9:35
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Roger Beaudoin 10:47
Thanks so much for sharing. That’s a wonderful story, Tanya. Okay, Don, it’s your turn Europe, tell us all about your story
is a little different from Tanya’s I actually came to into the hospitality space by chance. So I went to grad school at University of Minnesota School of Music, got my Master’s in vocal performance, moved to New York to become a classical singer, like a professional classical singer, which, you know, I continued to pursue and perform. And I needed, of course, to pay my rent right in between auditions. And so I came across this really small agency, run by this woman named Melanie young. And she had the James Beard Foundation as a client. And so I actually cut my teeth in the Culinary and Hospitality Business, working as I think I started as a coordinator or something. But working on the award theme through her agency, and it was cool. I think my connection to Chef like Tanya and others that I’ve worked with over the years comes from the artistic standpoint, right? Chefs are artists just have a creative. Yeah. So I just have a creative workflow. And I felt like I could relate to that. And the awards were like putting on a show. So it was like, perfect. And I just sort of found this other career, as it were. That was very fulfilling. So I worked there for a while. It was really cool. I would say my first official, official, real culinary experience was way back in the day. And I went to great Quintus restaurant when he was in Lespinasse, and I still remember the dish. I still remember how it tasted. I mean, are you serious? It was
Roger Beaudoin 12:47
amazing. I guess so.
And I was like, Okay, I like this, if the singing thing doesn’t work at all. This is awesome. I’ve been lucky to do both, though. Anyway, so I was there for a while and I got to work with wonderful chefs, you know, work on the awards, in a manager position moved on to work on other projects there. And then I eventually moved to another agency called karlitz. And company I was there for a while. There, I was brought in initially to work on the official and first ever New York City Wine and Food Festival. So I was on that inaugural team supporting the chef’s at the first event. And then, you know, moved around within the department ended up being a lead producer for their Foxwoods casino festival. I worked on worked on curating and creating a first time festival in St. Petersburg, Florida. Called it St. Pete basically. And eventually, our firm partnered with Marcus Samuelsson and his group to create the annual Harlem Ito Festival, which I would say was one of my crown jewels anyway, in my career, and that was really cool. Because it was the first time I think that I really got to see myself and see us create a platform that really shone a spotlight not just on the more famous chefs, but some famous chefs in Harlem, and some not so famous chefs and really mixing all of them up with some, you know, more national names. It was really cool. And then I got this wonderful opportunity to join the Beard Foundation in a completely new role that never existed before. And here I am.
Roger Beaudoin 14:48
Thanks for sharing. You know, you mentioned Marcus Samuelsson and he’s certainly you know, gotten a lot of fame with his restaurant Red Rooster I believe it’s called and yes is Harlem now a food desert? The nation has he sort of put Harlem on the map. And now it’s a real draw because Manhattan, New York City, it is such an eclectic mix of every kind of cuisine from around the world. You know, it’s it’s a Food City, for sure. And I don’t need to tell anyone that. But now Marcus is, you know, he’s elevated. And I know that he’s also involved, I believe in programs that teach young chefs skills and bring people in from the inner city and give them a career and a path and all that I followed some of this. And I love seeing that, because this is the business where you don’t need a formal education, you can literally start off in the dishwasher room and end up owning your own chain of restaurants. I had a dishwasher that started with me at age 15. And he was with me for 15 years. And he ran two of my kitchens. And then after that, he went out and he started his own restaurant. So anything is possible in this business.
I’ll say this, I think Harlem has always been a hub of culinary and cultural hub. For me, you know, decades and decades and decades, I think that you can find almost the entire world in Harlem, as far as cuisine is concerned. And that’s very exciting. For sure, Marcus definitely has left and continues to leave his mark on Harlem. But there are other chefs there. And restaurant tours out there too. Who I think I don’t want to start naming names because I’ll forget somebody and they’ll be like, he didn’t mention me, but who had a significant impact, I think, in that community as far as the culinary scene, and also supporting the community. I think I learned a lot in the last few years of working with Carl It’s on. It’s not just about the food on the plate. It’s how you are impacting your immediate team. You’re, of course, your guests, you know, for sure you’re in service to your guests, by the kind of food you serve your heart, the hospitality of you and your staff, but also how you’re impacting your community. So leaders, you know, I’ll name a few people because I just I love so many people. But you know, you’ve got of course the the Woods family from Sylvia’s. You’ve got Melba Wilson, you’ve got us Kai and Chef Raymond from Lolo, Seafood Shack, JJ Johnson from field trip light, who I think is kind of blowing things up, you know, excellent. Got a PA, chum, and his team from Turanga, which is one of the first we’ll call it like a West African type cuisine at the Africa Center. There are so many there’s mountain bird, I’m sure I’m leaving a few people out. We’re gonna tell Ria, but they’re just a few examples of the food scene.
Roger Beaudoin 17:50
Thank you so much for sharing. That brought it all to life for me. Let’s get into the history and the mission of the James Beard Foundation. And let’s start with James Andrew Beard who this foundation is named from, why don’t you tell us a little bit about him? Not everyone is familiar with where it all started. But yeah, let’s talk about the history and mission and where it all began.
Sure. So I think most people know that James Beard was a cook, a cookbook author, a huge personality. And he left his mark, clearly on the culinary scene in this country. Interestingly enough, the Beard Foundation began really after his passing by his friends, including Peter company, Julia Child, over at the beard house at 167, West 12th Street. I think, you know, it’s always been an organization that was created to celebrate American cuisine and the people who make it the people in the hospitality industry, it has the organization, I think, over the last what 30 years have has gone through a lot of changes. You know, nothing is stagnant. And over the last couple of years, including went before Tonya joined as board of trustee member, and also as chair of the awards committee, you know, went through some major changes, and it’s a nonprofit, and it really exists to serve those in the industry. And I would say over the last few years, you’ll see they have so many programs that support people in the industry, everyone, right? Those who you could say have made it. Those who maybe have not had as many doors open to them. They’ve got the Women’s Leadership Program, for example. The Chef’s boot camp, I know Tanya you can probably talk a little bit about those programs. And more recently, we they we’ve just created this wonderful Fellows Program that piloted this past year for young people who receive training and something like mentoring as they make their way in the industry. So it’s it’s an amazing organization. And you know, like everybody, every other organization continues to grow, moving toward more equity, creating more accessibility and the resources that people in the hospitality business need to move forward in their careers.
Roger Beaudoin 20:31
When did the awards begin?
1990 My goodness, I feel like I’m being tested.
Roger Beaudoin 20:38
Okay, that brings all the history of life. Okay. Yep. How would you say? And either of you can answer this question. But, you know, everyone has an idea of what the James Beard Foundation is. And, you know, there are a lot of chefs that are James Beard award winners, and that elevates the profile of those chefs and the restaurants. How did it gain such prestige and recognition? Is there sort of a trajectory where it just sort of gained momentum and steam and, and now it’s kind of a benchmark of, you know, the chef, when you think of a James Beard award winner, it’s spectacular cuisine. It’s, its hospitality. It’s an elevated dining situation. I mean, that’s what comes to mind when I think of it. And it’s so many things to so many people. But let’s talk about you know, where did they gain prestige and recognition or how do you think that came about? Everyone knows that Smithfield culinary has a full line of great ready to cook to ready to eat products from Smithfield and Margarita, but what else is cooking? Tap into the latest culinary trends and get inspired with new recipes created by real working chefs from across the country. Bring more to the table with flavors and new menu ideas. Your guests will save her visit Smithfield, culinary.com or follow at smithfield culinary on social media?
Well, I think I think that clearly there was a need to celebrate an award people in the industry. I think James Beard was a big name. And I think that over the years, she chefs, people in the business have become more mainstream or known in a more mainstream manner, I would suspect that the creation of Food Network, and shows that they put on as well as the newer ones have really helped to put the spotlight on on the industry, for your consumer who likes to eat or likes to cook at home. So I do think that had made a difference. And I think also, you know, people love food, you know, and people love award shows. And besides that, there’s also the Media Awards, which includes three other awards book journalism and broadcast. I think just the constant build on the initial programs has just, you know, continued to make it an you know, the most prestigious award that one can win in space. That’s one that’s my take on it. Yeah.
Roger Beaudoin 23:05
Okay, that makes sense. So new categories. You mentioned journalism and books, and not just chefs are recognized, right. restaurateurs can be rest recognized journalists, anyone that brings attention to this industry in a positive way. Is that’s all free, you know, fair game?
I think so. Yes. So the media awards have been in existence for real for actually quite a while. And each each of the programs that fall under that umbrella have existed for a long time, actually, it’s just that most people don’t know about them as much. So I would say that for book, it’s obviously for cookbooks, right? And there are many, many, many categories within that program. And then you’ve got journalism for writing about food mostly, or any, or adjacent to that has a number of categories and same thing with broadcast media. And then you’ve got the Leadership Awards. That’s broader, you know, for those who are leading in creating more resources, working with farmers working on sustainability, and then you’ve got, of course, the restaurant chef award set out the most known, I would say, and they have a ton of various categories, as you say, you know, standing chef, regional, etc.
Roger Beaudoin 24:29
Do the number of winners vary from year to year? Is that always a set amount of winners?
It’s it depends on the categories. So each program has a set of subcommittee members, and those subcommittee members are overseen by the awards committee. And Tanya can if you want you can talk a little bit about your role in that regard, but they all have committees and those committees every year, look at the categories and try to keep them you know As current and relevant based on trends going on in their industries,
all right, for example, probably in the beginning, you know, there’s certain regions that weren’t recognized or, you know, there may have been just northwest, including California. Now, I think it’s, you know, Oregon and Washington are separate, you know, as the markets develop, and there’s more talent in certain areas, you know, to include those folks. I can’t think of other examples offhand. But it could be like, you know, where it used to be, you know, maybe Boston was in New England, but now Boston might have their own and then, you know, other parts of New England have, you know, or are looked at. But yeah, you know, the, the chair award is great for being, you know, the chef, the industry voice representative, you know, actually active in the industry, and been able to impact and change the makeup of the committee members and the judges since since I’ve been on board, you know, just really bringing this diversity, which I’ve been speaking to for decades, diversity, equity inclusion that has lacking and frankly, was really lacking in the early days of the Beard Foundation. Awards, it was very European male centric, the winners and so I just really, you know, it was important to me to get involved and, and see how we could make a difference. And as John said, I’ve been involved in some of the programs. So the boot camps for the chef’s have been just phenomenal, and really, life changing. Because, you know, a lot of times as a chef and owner of a restaurant is, you know, you don’t really work next to your peers, you are working with people who work for you. So you know, to be working with peers and exchange ideas, and then also, you know, further develop our skill sets through the tools that the Beard Foundation provided by, you know, having people there for us to teach us how to leverage our influence in our community to really impact our community, even in even more so has been great. And then I, you know, you have a new whole new set of friends and resources that you can reach out to when you’re in need, like, Hey, where are you sourcing this from? How are you dealing with, you know, your mental health? How are you doing with this, it’s just been, it’s a great alumni group. And I was fortunate enough to participate in two of those. And then also was in the inaugural class of the women entrepreneur leadership class, which was a program originally at Babson and I went to Babson, you did? Oh. And I worked in Boston for a while. So I always heard great things about it. And, you know, we essentially got a little mini MBA in five days. I mean, it was very, very, very mini, and, but really, you know, building on our skill sets as entrepreneurs. So not everybody was a restaurant tour somewhere in consumer product goods, you know, bakeries, you know, people at different levels in their career development. And, you know, it’s just been, it’s, it’s great that, you know, the Foundation is doing more than just, you know, giving out awards for excellence. And now, we’re also discussing what is excellent, you know, I mean, it’s such a different industry than it was 20 years ago, and having a white tablecloth and fancy China does not necessarily mean, you know, you don’t serve if you don’t have it, your food can still be excellent, you know, your hospitality can still be excellent. So really trying to, you know, equal the playing field and recognize all sorts of voices at whatever levels.
Yeah, I mean, I feel like what Tonya has said, just really illustrates good food for good, which is essentially the philosophy of the James Beard Foundation, good food for good, you know, it touches everybody in the industry. Mm hmm. More than winning an award the idea I think, for the Foundation, which is exciting in which is one of the reasons I joined was, this is so exciting. The Foundation offers a lifecycle, right of someone who wants to be in the industry. And at any, you know, you can hit some of the marks at any given point. So, you could have participated in the chef’s bootcamp, you could have participated in the weld program, you may have received a scholarship, you might have received an award and decided, Oh, I’ve been a chef and maybe now I want to do something else, but so within the space, so that’s what we endeavour to do and we will continue to develop our programs so that we can continue to support those who are in the industry. Wonderful.
And you know, that’s a another reason why I fell in love this industry is that You know, there’s just so many options, you know that you can be a chef, but then you might decide to study wine, like you said, or you might decide you want to be in the management part. And, you know, it’s just it’s an interesting industry really is, as you said, Peter, it doesn’t matter, your formal education, right, you can come from all different backgrounds, you know, and we’re Case in point John was an opera singer, and I applied to all engineering schools and have a degree in Russian language literature. So you know, you just never know.
Roger Beaudoin 30:32
This is true. It’s a diverse industry, diverse cultures are involved in the diverse opportunities within the entire industry. Are the awards held in? Oh, you have a friend that is? That is the studio mascot right there every once in a while he likes the
CAMEO. Love it.
Roger Beaudoin 30:51
Thank you. Are the awards held in different places each year? Is it always the same place?
Oh, well, I think over the years, it’s it has been in the same place. Uh, we have the restaurant and Chef awards in Chicago. And that’s what we’ll be going this year. So that’s exciting. What a great restaurant city as well. Oh, my God, totally. And it’s a gorgeous city full of rich, rich culture all throughout all the neighborhoods. So the restaurant internship awards will take place on June 13. At the Lyric Opera Theatre. So that’s exciting. And will shortly I will soon be announcing the rest of our announcement dates on the website, so people can visit us at James spear.org backslash awards.
Roger Beaudoin 31:41
Let’s dive into the criteria for admissions and how people are nominated to receive a reward an award in each category.
Roger Beaudoin 31:49
How does that work? For all of the programs?
Roger Beaudoin 31:51
Yeah, you know, how is recognition? Determined? I mean, who decides, obviously, you have a committee and whatnot. But the nomination process, I’d like to find out all about that.
Sure. So I’ll start with the Media Awards. Like, I think that’ll be a little more strict, but more straightforward. And I know your audience probably wants to hear more about the restaurant and chef. So for the Media Awards, for each of those, we have a call for entry period, and that was in October, and it ended in at the end of November. You get to submit your write your your piece or pieces, your book, etc. And, and then it goes through, you know, various processes, right, we they they’re screened, they’re looked at a ballot is created. And then we have rounds, rounds of folding for the folding body. So committee members, and then their judges go out and vote. And whoever gets the best score wins. And then for the restaurant, and Chef awards and leadership, it’s a call for recommendations. So the subcommittee, and the judges can submit their recommendations for all of the categories. In addition to that members of the industry, consumers, anybody can also submit their recommendations, the committee looks at those recommendations along with the judges, they rank them. And then the subcommittee forms a semi finalists list after voting on you know, based on the results of just looking through all of the the submissions, some finalist lists, they’re announced. And then there’s two, there’s another round of voting, we’re nominees are chosen. And then another round of voting when you have the winner. It’s pretty straightforward. And I think one of the results of our audit to be more transparent and clear, really about the process. And the procedure was to place everything on our website full of information. But it’s very clear, you can actually there’s even a graph, you can see exactly what the steps are, if anybody’s interested in that. One of the major, I would say significant results of our audits was to better align the mission of the awards to that of the foundation. And its values. You know, so of course, excellence in your craft is central. If you’re a chef, I mean, come on, the food is central, right? But also hospitality. If you’re whiter than of course, your piece, for example, and what efforts are you making in your way in your own way to advance you know, equity sustained ability and how are you helping to advance your industry to create a more sustainable, and industry and culture?
Roger Beaudoin 35:10
That’s, that’s terrific. That’s exactly what I was looking for. Is the award itself, or can you describe what the award itself is? Is it a tangible trophy? A plaque? I mean, what exactly is it? Is it something that chefs display in the restaurants, not just chefs, but award winners? Tell us some of them? Does it change every year? Or is it always this iconic? Whatever it is, tell us about that.
It’s iconic. It’s a medallion. Okay. Yeah. You know, the 80s when medallions were in? Early Hip Hop days? Sure. It’s a medallion on a lovely ribbon. And it has the face of James beer and the first words, sure. And then we have seals that people can use on their bowl, for example, and the winners receive a certificate.
Yes. And you often see those certificates framed and posted in restaurants like in a very clear location, because they do add a lot of they’ve always, you know, been prestigious, and they are significant in our industry.
Roger Beaudoin 36:16
Can a winner ever win more than one award? Sure. That’s possible. So you can be recognized numerous times and Win, win multiple James spirited and you can win several
in the same year, there’s been, you know, best chef, and then Best Regional restaurant, for instance, I think, you know, there’s a few chefs that have won that award, and the cookbook comes out the same year.
Right, exactly. So I think for and for the for the awards, it depends on the category, they are definitely guidelines that are outlined in the eligibility forms that we share with anybody who wants to submit someone or submit themselves. So you can kind of see where, you know, you can either apply for yourself on behalf of someone else to be considered for the restaurant chef award. Same thing with the other awards programs.
Roger Beaudoin 37:07
What are the hopes and plans that you have for the future of the industry and the foundation? Well,
I’ll go first, I think, you know, one of our colleagues said this in a meeting, and I see it a lot. And I think we all are working with this. We’re working in drafts. We have made significant changes over the last few years, and specifically around the awards, which we’ve touched on a bit here, thanks to Tanya’s leadership leadership afar, you know, the organization and so many of our committee members. But it’s not like, oh, we made these stages, we’re good, let’s go, we will continue to work on making sure that we are being equitable, that we understand what we mean, when we say sustainability that we are, you know, creating more accessibility being as transparent as we possibly can be. And making sure that people understand when they are applying for these awards, what they actually mean, you know. And I think we want to make sure that the awards and all of the programs continue and build on really as a serving, serving as a resource for those who have won, and those who might win. So if you’ve won, and you want to be a mentor to someone, we’ve had all these programs that really support that. I mean, so many people are going through it with COVID. And the impact that it’s had on this industry, we have had programs will continue to build those, as we kind of get through this, you know, in any future. Fingers crossed. And AmEx, right. It’s really important, like the other day we colleagues of ours put together a chef’s Connect, which is something we do from time to time, just creating a space for people to get together and just talk and share ideas. How are you doing? How are you getting through this? How are you managing with staff? Staffing, how are you managing with? I don’t know, you know, kind of like what Tanya? By chains,
Roger Beaudoin 39:21
everything. Oh, yeah, rising cost supply chains, the pandemic, the labor crisis? These are the biggest, basically so right now everything.
Yeah, you know, some of our colleagues have also been, you know, involved in natural disasters, fires and floods and, you know, so there’s just, there’s just a lot and, you know, we’re frontline workers and, you know, just an industry that doesn’t have a lot of regulation and infrastructure. So, you know, what the foundation is doing also is looking at this and trying to create programs and systems to support you know, us, especially the independent operators. You need a lot more support than, say, a chain restaurant or, you know, hotel restaurant or something like that.
Roger Beaudoin 40:08
Absolutely. Well, that’s a wonderful mission also. So thanks for sharing. Do you each have best advice? You know, we’ve talked a little bit about the pandemic, it’s decimated the industry. And it’s really sad how many restaurants have been forced to close. But yet that creates a rebirth. And there’s so much new opportunity for people just entering the industry, there’s so many spaces for lease with fit UPS ready to go restaurants that were operating just months ago, now. They’re just sitting there, and people can enter this industry and just grow it again, from the ground up. What advice would you share for the industry as a whole? You know, as we move out of the pandemic into the future, what do you see, no one’s got the crystal ball, of course, but people have been through, you know, the worst of times, optimism is out there. Customers are returning to restaurants in droves. I mean, the industry is really booming once again, yet we still haven’t moved move past the challenges that we’re facing, some of which you’ve already mentioned. So what would what would each your best advice be to anyone listening that might be inspired by hearing what you talked about might want to open a restaurant just might be hanging on saying I’ve made it this far. And it’s been so difficult, I’ve got to dig deep, but I can still see a future in this business. What What would you say to those people?
Yeah, I’ll go first. So there’s a cycle, you know, I mean, a lot of us who have been in this business know that, you know, it’s advantageous to get a restaurant space that is in its second, third or fourth generation, right. So you, you inherit the bones of, you know, the expenses, you don’t have to incur that, like, raw space build out. And, you know, you don’t have to build in the clientele, because people already got used to come in here. I mean, I’ve done that, in creating spaces, I’ve done that, and leaving spaces for people to inherit, and, you know, just close my last restaurant, and but, you know, it’s always gonna be an evolution changes in evitable, obviously, there’s some restaurants have been there forever. But I think, you know, we have to be open to having these discussions with our colleagues, and there’s no shame and failure, failure is a lesson, it’s a tool for growth. And, you know, I think we should all be open to sharing what we’ve experienced, and, you know, so that the next generation of operator can, you know, have some advantage, that’s, that’s gonna advance the entire industry, that’s not going to give someone an advantage on you. And, you know, I’m just not a fan of this, like, sort of hoarding of information. Because I think we all grow and learn when we share it. And I, you know, that’s what I would encourage, you know, people going into industry, I always say, when I speak to people, I say, talk to as many people who will listen and listen to as many people who will talk because you just can’t, you can’t know enough in this business. There’s, there’s always something to learn, you learn from other people’s mistakes. That’s why I’ve always tried when I was younger, to work for the most successful restaurant tours and, and chefs and operators. And, you know, I just want to encourage people to do that.
Roger Beaudoin 43:17
Thank you so much for sharing. How about you, Don,
I mean, I feel like Tanya really covered so much. She really covered the spirit of of anything that I might have to say, you know, I’m not an operator never have been, I think I would say, just reiterate, if possible, you know, everybody’s in a different, please try to be open, try to try to pivot, try to try different things. And you know, reach out to your community. Reach out to that community here for your community, too. And when I say community, where your places where you live, and your restaurant and chef, and if your food media, that community, exactly, that is the only way to survive. As a human, I think and particularly in this industry. And, you know, reach out to the Beard Foundation seriously.
Roger Beaudoin 44:17
Thank you so much for sharing both ladies. You’re doing a wonderful service for this industry. I think you’ve inspired us all and the people that you’re involved with are so inspiring. And I love the fact that you’re moving forward for you know, racial equity, and gender equity and sustainability. These are all important things for the future of this business. So that in an in and of itself is a tremendous service. Thanks so much to our audience for tuning in. That was another episode of the restaurant rockstars podcast and we’ll see you all next time. Stay well. Thank you, Don. Thank you, Tanya, for being guests on the podcast and thanks for sharing with the James Beard Foundation is all about as well as the awards and the new categories and everything that you’re doing to raise awareness and change for racial and gender equality and sustainability within the foundation and the industry as a whole. So thank you for that. Thank you also to our sponsors of this week’s episode Davao, which is sales tax on autopilot as well as Smithfield culinary and the restaurant rockstars Academy. Profit. It’s something that we should think about all the time. These are crazy times. And as we know, costs are rising and margins are shrinking and disappearing actually. Well, those of you who have followed me know that when I ran restaurants profit was uppermost and top of my priority list, and it should be for you as well. So why not head on over to restaurant rockstars.com, where we are giving away absolutely free the top three ways you’re killing your restaurant profits, it’s information, powerful information that will help you immediately actionable ideas to help you dial in your restaurants, profits and do so quickly. Because for a limited time, we’re also giving away our free restaurant assessment. Whether you’re starting your very first restaurant and you’re just getting into the business, this will help you if you’re a veteran operator, and you’re just looking to optimize your operation. We have an aversion, obviously, for veteran existing restaurants as well. Again, it’s the restaurant assessment, thought provoking information that will really give you actionable ideas. Are you doing this? Are you doing that that will really make an impact in your business? So check that out at restaurant rockstars.com Thanks again for listening and tuning in. We appreciate our audience everyone stay well. We’ll see you next time.
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