CHICAGO (WLS) --The Oscars of the food world have returned to Chicago for the second year in a row.
The nation's top restaurateurs, chefs and sommeliers are in town for the James Beard Awards Monday night.
In Chicago, Alinea won in the Outstanding Restaurant category, the Cherry Circle Room won for best restaurant design, and Curtis Duffy of Grace took home "Best Chef" in the Great Lakes division.
The nominees walked the red carpet at the Civic Opera House Monday night. But over the last 24 hours, champagne-fueled receptions have been the theme around town.
Earlier Monday, the Beard Foundation's president was at the Waldorf bestowing jackets to the chefs cooking at the event named for America's first "celebrity chef."
"He's the first person to be on television telling people how to roast a chicken or make homemade pasta. He also had the first television show, so he was really a pioneer," said Susan Ungaro, James Beard Foundation.
In Lincoln Park, Nick Kokonas and his staff at Alinea recently gutted the building after a decade in business. They're nominated for Best Restaurant in the country.
"In order to get nominated for that award you have to be open for 10 years. And so you're not even eligible until you've not only opened, thrived, innovated but you have to last as well," Kokonas said.
A lunchtime reception at Swift & Sons and Cold Storage in the Google Building in the West Loop featured Lee Wolen's cured fluke with buckwheat and black garlic and Stephanie Izard's shrimp toast garnished with giardiniera.
The duo work for the BOKA Restaurant Group, named for Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, who are nominated as Outstanding Restaurateurs. They said having six chef-partners is one of their keys to success.
"And I think that's a big part of it. When you sprinkle in incredible design and extraordinary hospitality and service and a lot of hard work and a bit of luck," Katz said.
The winners of the 2016 James Beard Foundation restaurant and chef awards announced Monday are:
NATIONAL RESTAURANT AND CHEF AWARDS
- Best New Restaurant
Shaya in New Orleans
- Outstanding Baker
Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston
- Outstanding Bar Program
Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, New York
- Outstanding Chef
Suzanne Goin of Lucques in Los Angeles
- Outstanding Pastry Chef
Dahlia Narvaez of Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles
- Outstanding Restaurant
Alinea in Chicago
- Outstanding Restaurateur
Ken Friedman of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin and Tosca Cafe in New York
- Outstanding Service
Eleven Madison Park in New York
- Outstanding Wine Program
Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida
- Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional
Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
- Rising Star Chef of the Year
Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme in New York
RESTAURANT DESIGN AWARDS
- 75 Seats and Under
Firm: Demian Repucci Design
Designer: Demian Repucci
Project: Bruno, New York
Firm: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Designers: Renzo Piano Building Workshops in collaboration with Cooper Robertson and Bentel and Bentel
Project: Untitled, New York
- 76 Seats and Over
Design Firm: Land and Sea Dept.
Designers: Mode Carpentry, Land and Sea Dept. (Robert McAdams, Jon Martin, Peter Toalson and Cody Hudson)
Project: Cherry Circle Room, Chicago
REGIONAL CHEF AWARDS
-Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago
-Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Aaron Silverman, Rose's Luxury, Washington D.C.
-Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
-Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)
Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto
-Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT)
Zak Pelaccio, Fish & Game, Hudson, New York
-Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins, Seattle
-Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)
Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans
-Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville
-Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)
Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston
-Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal, Los Angeles
-Al Ameer Restaurant, Dearborn, Michigan
Owners: Khalil Ammar and Zaki Hashem
-Brooks' House of BBQ, Oneonta, New York
Owners: Beth and Ryan Brooks
-Bully's Restaurant, Jackson, Mississippi
Owners: Greta Brown Bully and Tyrone Bully
-Matt's Place Drive-In, Butte, Montana
Owners: Robin and Brad Cockhill
-Rancho de Chimay? Restaurante, Chimayo, New Mexico
Owner: Florence Jaramillo
Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America
Winemaker of Sonoma, California
Baker and proprietor of New York
Author and founder of Serious Eats in New York
Author and animal rights activist of Fort Collins, Colorado
Chef and restaurateur of New York
Humanitarian of the Year
Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles
Lifetime Achievement Award
Leah Chase of Dooky Chase's Restaurant in New Orleans