James Beard Book Awards (or how to find fantabulous cookbooks)

The James Beard Foundation sponsors several food/cooking related awards. The foundation’s mission statement is “To celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future.” Yum. Again, this is an award that has been called the “Oscar” of a genre/field. Is that really the only prize we compare things to? Anyway, James Beard was one of the most influential AMERICAN chefs in the 20th century. When he died in 1985, the JBF was created by his friends (Julia Child  & Jacques Pepin to name a few) to keep his work and vision alive.Click here for more JBF history

From the JBF website:

“Any book published in English in the United States or  Canadaduring the previous calendar year is eligible for an award. Publishers, editors, and authors submit their books for consideration in one of 10 categories: American Cooking, Baking and Dessert, Beverage, Cooking from a Professional Point of View, General Cooking, Healthy Focus, International, Single Subject, Reference and Scholarship, and Writing and Literature. There is a $100 entry fee.

Four judges are assigned to each category. The judges (more than 50 in total) are not committee members; rather, they’re editors, authors, journalists, and culinary educators who have not published a culinary book during the current Awards year.

Judges are looking for books that contribute to the growing canon of information and knowledge about food and beverage. Content, accuracy, design, and writing style are among the elements considered.

The Book Awards Committee selects the Cookbook of the Year from among the nominated books in each category. From among the books submitted for nomination, an award is given for Outstanding Photography. Each year the committee also inducts a classic cookbook or an author’s body of work into the Cookbook Hall of Fame.

The nominees are announced at a Nominees Breakfast in March. The winners are announced during the Book, Journalism, and Broadcast Media Awards Dinner in May. The author(s) of the book receive(s) the award.”

 Being a member of the foundation is not required, and they receive THOUSANDS of entries a year.  Winning this one is a big deal in the foodie world. As a rule, these are WONDERFUL cookbooks and I enjoy browsing through them just for fun. 🙂 

 The JBF website is apparently under construction, but you can find the winners lists here.

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