In the beginning there was Beard.
Food in the 21st century has become much more than “meat and potatoes” and canned soup casseroles.” Chefs have gained celebrity status; recipes and exotic ingredients, once impossible to find, are now just a mouse click away; and the country's major cities are better known for their gastronomy than their art galleries. This food movement can be traced back to one man: James Beard. His name graces the highest culinary honor in the American food world today—the James Beard Foundation Awards. And while chefs all around the country aspire to win a James Beard Award, often referred to as the “culinary Oscars,” many of those same chefs know very little about the man behind the medal. Respected restaurateur Drew Nieporent summed it up when he said, “Everybody knows the name James Beard. They may not know who he is, but they know the name.”