James Beard Announces 2019 Semifinalists and Predictions

James Beard Announces 2019 Semifinalists and Predictions

The James Beard Foundation announced the 2019 Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists! This years who’s who reads from the Top 25 Restaurant lists here on Foodable! This year brings in some new talent and some definite off the beaten path restaurants as well. Based on what my analysis is so far this year could be one of the best classes in a long time.

Checkout the full list below, from Best New Restaurant to Outstanding Chef. The announcement for the final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominees for the Media and Restaurant Design Awards, was held in Houston today. Check the Twitter hashtag for the latest - #jbfa

The 2019 James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 6, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The 2019 Leadership Awards will be held on Sunday, May 5 in Chicago, and the 2019 Media Awards will take place on Friday, April 26, at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City. Tickets to both the Awards Gala and the Media Awards will be on sale beginning March 27 at jamesbeard.org/awards.

Check out my Ones to Watch below!

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Watch Foodable Shows on Most Downloaded App at Launch on AppleTV

Watch Foodable Shows on Most Downloaded App at Launch on AppleTV

This week, news about the Amazon Prime Video app becoming the most-downloaded app in the first week of its launch on Apple TV were announced.

After Apple and Amazon settled their differences earlier this year, Amazon began to sell the Apple TV on their retail website and Apple finally launched the Amazon Prime Video app in early December.

“TechCrunch” confirmed the news, which “was first reported by the site BestAppleTV.com.”

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Curtis Stone’s Maude Is Seasonal, Intimate, and Has a No-Tipping Model

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

A tiny Beverly Hills eatery serving a creative menu to about two dozen guests is Chef Curtis Stone’s life-long dream. Its name, Maude, pays homage to his first culinary mentor — Curtis’ late paternal grandmother. Her influence can be seen throughout the restaurant fixtures and china used to serve food.

Since opening in 2014, Foodable Top 25 Restaurant Maude has been serving a 10-course seasonal tasting menu, focusing on one key rotating ingredient each month.

“The reason we do only a tasting menu format here at Maude is because some of Curtis’ experiences are going to restaurants that friends of his own, sitting down, they take off the menus out of your hands, and just cook for you…no decision to make, you just sit back and let brilliant people do what they do best,” Ben Aviram, general manager and wine director at Maude, said, explaining the premise of Maude’s mission to recreate that experience for all of its guests.

In this "Table 42" Vignette, Maude Head Chef Justin Hilbert demonstrated for us a seasonal dish with pistachio as its star ingredient: Ravioli with Pistachio Ricatta and Broccoli De Cicco.

Preparing the Dish

  • Start by making the pasta with all-purpose flour, salt, and some eggs; mix for 30 mins.
  • Heat up milk until it reaches 200 degrees, then add lemon juice; let the mixture cool down on a deep tray.
  • Garnishes for the dish include: Sweet Italian broccoli de cicco, rapini flowers, fresh dill
  • After pasta dough has come together and rested nicely, it is rolled out two to three times through a stretch machine; then, it’s laid out on table and even strips are cut.
  • The ricatta will be the ravioli filling, which was whipped with pistachio. Each one is placed between a pasta blanket and cut through to make the ravioli. They are later thrown in boiling water to be cooked for three minutes.
  • In the meantime, the broccoli de cicco is sautéed to achieve a char-grilled flavor profile.
  • Pasta is then picked out of the pot of boiling water and thrown into a bowl of butter and water; dill, lemon juice are then added to the mixture.
  • Dish can be plated by laying the pasta over the sautéed broccoli de cicco. Pour a little bit of dill butter sauce and the ramini leaves and flowers.

Service Charge Model

The prix fixe menu at Maude is designed to create an intimate chef’s table experience for every guest. Foodable was curious to learn more about their no-tipping model, as this topic along with minimum wage is still being debated at the national stage.

“We feel it is the best way to fairly compensate all the employees,” Aviram said. “Restaurants generally have a pretty large disparity of what the dining room makes and what the kitchen makes, and by us charging a service charge and taking that 18 percent and being able to spread the wages both in the dining room and the kitchen, helps us to level that playing field a little bit.”

To learn more, watch the full episode!

Chef Julia Doyne of The Forge Irons Out Historic Steakhouse With New Flair

Video Produced by Denise Toledo

The Forge has been an icon in Miami since the 1930s, but with the introduction of new executive chef, Julia Doyne, the renowned American steakhouse is getting a new wave of attention.

Doyne has had a love affair with cooking ever since her mother taught her how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies at age 5. Her first job was in New York with highly acclaimed Chef Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit. There, she perfected the Swedish and Nordic techniques of pickling, curing, and smoking. Doyne went on to work for Michelin-starred Chef Christopher Lee as a line cook before working her way up to sous chef. When Chef Lee took the position as The Forge’s executive chef, Doyne jumped at the opportunity to be the chef de cuisine at the most legendary steakhouse. Last year, Doyne made another leap when she was appointed to executive chef of The Forge by owner Shareef Malnik.

“Then he said, I would like to offer you the position, and I kinda knew it was gonna happen, you know? It was kind of obvious, but my heart still just exploded and I just had to keep my cool,” Doyne said.

On this episode  of “Table 42,” see how the cuisine at The Forge merges the American steakhouse genre with modern techniques and flavors under Julia Doyne’s leadership. For example, Chef Julia’s General Tso’s Octopus is a new take on a classic, and Chef Doyne transforms the dish with ease.


“You wanna braise it for a really long period time with vegetables like carrots, onions, a little bit of red wine. You wanna submerge it in this liquid and once you cool it off it’s really easy to char,” she said.

Their signature dish, the Super Steak, really defines the cuisine at the Forge. They have perfected it with quality meat and the perfect sear.

“...Our Super Steak, it’s a 16-ounce dry aged strip. We’re gonna put it on the grill and then let it rest a little bit. You wanna get a good char flavor to seal in the juices,” she said.

Watch the full episode to see how Chef Julia Doyne is forging the way!

But an impressive menu isn't the only thing to The Forge's name. The Forge boasts huge, elegant dining rooms, each with its own style. The building was originally an actual blacksmith's forge, used to create iron gates and sculptures for wealthy Miami residents. It is even outfitted with a number of secret passageways and rooms. Not to mention an expansive wine cellar with bottles aging back almost 200 years!

Curious to learn more? Take a tour of The Forge’s Wine Cellar here.

Chef Khai Vu of Las Vegas' District One Dishes Up 'Crazy, Fun' Vietnamese Cuisine

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

District One Kitchen & Bar is not strictly a Vietnamese cuisine restaurant. Although the restaurant name refers to the district epicenter for entertainment and dining in Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest municipality), District One is known to be a melting pot of Asian flavors, including Vietnamese, Thailandese, Chinese, and Japanese.

“In the menu, we have everything from seafood to noodles to different variety of Southeast Asian-inspired dishes,” said Chef and owner Khai Vu. “A lot of it is Vietnamese-inspired because of our roots and where we’re from…”

However, District One’s founders wanted to create a menu that would not only reflect their heritage, but also showcase their experiences by combining flavors from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New York.

Chef Vu attributes his entrepreneurial spirit to his father, who taught him how to be a successful businessman, but for his early fascination with food, Chef Vu blames his grandmother.

“From growing up and going to the farmer’s market every weekend with my grandma... every weekend, she would stop everything and make a big family meal,” said Chef Vu.


In this Table 42 Vignette, Chef Vu demonstrated for us their signature dish: Live Whole Maine Lobster Pho. They get them alive and then they poach them, “...we take them all apart, and then deshell them and put it back together” in order to make it easier for the guest to eat.

“When you order, ask for a female lobster because it comes with all the roll… that’s the good stuff!” Vu added.

At District One, they really go out of their way to give each one of the dishes a home-cooked feel.

“I take all the good dish, put it on a much easier, simpler menu that people can understand and after they are used to it, I’ll bring out more crazy, fun stuff,” said Chef Vu. “We want people to understand more the cuisine, so they can enjoy it more...”