New York, NY(June 2012) - The James Beard Foundation has announced changes in regions and category names for the
culinary industry's most prestigious honors. Beginning with the 2013 James Beard Awards, chefs in the Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico will be eligible for "Best Chef South" Award and Nevada will join with California and Hawaii to form the new Western
region of "Best Chef West."
"The Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee is always looking for ways to improve the James
Beard Awards to better reflect what's happening in the industry across the country," said Susan Ungaro, president of the James
Beard Foundation. "These changes signal the growth and vitality of America's ever-evolving culinary culture in different geographic
Chefs and restaurants in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will now be able to vie for a Beard Award in the
category of "Best Chef South" along with chefs from Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Puerto Rico restaurants
will also qualify for awards in national categories, such as Outstanding Chef, Restaurant/Restaurateur and Service, as well
as for the America's Classic award, an honor bestowed annually on five restaurants with timeless appeal and that are beloved
in their region for quality food that reflects the character of the community.
"Including Puerto Rico along with the
50 states and Washington D.C. recognizes the Commonwealth's vibrant and expanding restaurant scene," said Providence Cicero,
Seattle Times restaurant critic and chair of the James Beard Foundation's Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee. "We expect
Puerto Rico's participation will broaden and enrich the awards competition both in the Southern region and nationally."
addition, the Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee announced a redistricting change. Nevada, previously part of the Southwest
region, will join California and Hawaii, forming a new three-state Western region. The award category previously known as
"Best Chef Pacific" will now be called "Best Chef West".
The change in the regional "Best Chef" awards more accurately
showcases the state of culinary culture in the United States. Since the regions were last reconfigured in 2005, the Southwest
region has grown dramatically in population. The previous seven-state region included nine of the 50 largest metropolitan
areas in the country.
"Reducing the geographic size of the Southwest region will give chefs and restaurants in Arizona,
Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Texas, and Oklahoma a demographically appropriate chance to compete for a Beard award," added
Cicero. "Similarly, Nevada, California and Hawaii, each with metro areas that enjoy a high degree of culinary tourism, are
well-matched to compete in the West."
To submit a chef or restaurant to be considered for a nomination or to view the
full list of 2013 James Beard Awards categories and deadlines, please visit jamesbeard.org/awards beginning October 15, 2012.
The deadline for the Journalism, Broadcast, Restaurant Design & Graphics Awards is early January 2013, and the deadline
for the Restaurant & Chef Awards is December 31, 2012.
The Awards are open to any industry professional who meets
the criteria. Nominees will be announced on March 18, 2013. James Beard Foundation membership is not required for participation
in the nomination process or to win an award. Ballot tabulation is handled by Lutz and Carr, an independent accounting firm.
James Beard Foundation Books, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards will be held on May 3, 2013 in New York City. The James Beard
Foundation Awards Gala will be presented on May 6, 2013 at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.
more information about the James Beard Awards, please visit jamesbeard.org/awards.
About the James Beard Foundation
in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing, and preserving America's diverse culinary heritage
and future. A cookbook author and teacher, James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped educate and mentor generations
of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by offering a variety
of events and programs designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and foster a deeper understanding of our culinary culture.
These programs include educational initiatives, food industry awards, an annual national food conference, Leadership Awards
program, culinary scholarships, and publications. In addition to maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City's
Greenwich Village as a "performance space" for visiting chefs, the Foundation has created a robust online community, and hosts
tastings, lectures, workshops, and food-related art exhibits in New York City and around the country. For more information,
please visit jamesbeard.org. You can find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation's blog Delights & Prejudices,
become a JBF member at jamesbeard.org/join, like the James Beard Foundation on Facebook, and follow the James Beard Foundation
on Twitter and Pinterest.
Diane Stefani or Emily Schneider
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