Supermodel and America’s Next Top Model TV mogul Tyra Banks was the Master of Ceremonies for the recent James Beard Foundation Media Awards in partnership with VISIT PHILADELPHIA® at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers in New York City.
Rocking an elegant black jumpsuit and chestnut beret, Banks presented the year’s best culinary podcast, shows, cookbooks, and documentaries. “I have a deep appreciation for food, and not just what comes in my mouth and what it tastes like – but that it brings people together,” explained Banks in her opening remarks. “Food is not just about nourishment for our bodies and satisfaction for our cravings – but it’s a platform – for people to share deep and personal stories, not just around that table, but actually in a mass way, in media.”
Top Philadelphia chefs Ange Branca, Diana and Maylia Widjojo, Andrew Farley, Robert Toland, Tova du Plessis, and Kate Jacoby were nominated for America’s top culinary honours – They were among the renowned chefs who prepared dinner and dessert for over 550 distinguished guests at the media awards.
Among the winners, honoured posthumously, were Anthony Bourdain of CNN’s Parts Unknown; food writer Jonathan Gold, as well as Chef Fatima Ali, who passed away this year from terminal cancer.
The 2019 Cookbook Hall of Fame recipient was Jessica B. Harris, who championed African-American and culinarians from the African continent.
Six Philadelphia restaurants and chefs, including Vetri Cucina (Marc Vetri), Zahav, Fork and High Street on Market (Ellen Yin), Royal Izakaya (Jesse Ito), Vedge (Rich Landau), and South Philly Barbacoa (Cristina Martínez) have been nominated in a list of 30 establishments across 21 different restaurant and chef-related categories.
The restaurant and chef winners will be announced in a separate James Beard Awards Gala, coming up in Chicago on 6 May and to be hosted by Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson.