Yesterday afternoon, when the James Beard Foundation tweets started rolling — announcing the 2011 award nominees — the list twinkled with green. In the Best Chef: Northeast category, Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Wood at the Grist Mill scored his third nomination in a row. And though Nathaniel Wade (of Burlington's ¡duino! (duende)) and Jason Gulisano (of Waitsfield's the Green Cup) didn't make the cut, their presence on last month's semifinalists is a heady honor. It speaks to both their talent and Vermont's growing magnetism for gifted chefs and those who love them.
Vergennes writer Barry Estabrook continues to have a magic touch, racking up three nominations — for his articles — "A Tale of Two Dairies" in Gastronomica, and "The Catch," in the New York Times Magazine — as well as his blog, Politics of the Plate. Just up Route 7, the staff at Charlotte-based EatingWell magazine must have been celebrating for contributing editor Rachael Moeller Gorman, whose piece "Captain of the Happier Meal" was nominated in the health and nutrition journalism category.
Emeril Lagasse may be a New Orleans fixture, but it was his 2009 foray into Vermont that scored his "Emeril Green" series a nomination. During "Emeril's Culinary Adventure: Vermont," he cooked country-fried quail alongside Jason Tostrup of the Inn at Weathersfield, hit up Thetford's Cedar Circle Farm, and trekked around the Hardwick area to make tofu at Vermont Soy and visit Jasper Hill Farm.
Winners will be announced (and tweeted) on May 6 and May 9 — follow @beardfoundation on Twitter to get the real-time scoop. In the meantime, show the love to your fellow Vermonters — read their stuff! Eat their food! Raise a glass!