James Beard Foundation announces book award nominees

JBF nominees

Awards season is now in full swing, as the James Beard Foundation Book Award nominees were announced on March 18 (you can view the complete 2014 list here.) If you compare the James Beard nominees to the IACP nominees, there is not a lot of overlap. Overall, the James Beard Foundation list is more traditional than the IACP list – no self-published books were nominated for a James Beard award.

Another phenomenon indicated by the divergent lists is the large number of quality cookbooks being published. The resurgence in the cookbook industry in the past decade or so is undeniable, with television shows spurring a renewed interest in cooking and the internet making formely obscure ingredients easily obtainable (if not inexpensive). Therefore the differences in the nominations are not surprising given the number of interesting, well-written, and informative cookbooks.

Some of this year’s James Beard nominees may want history to repeat itself. Last year Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish won the Baking category for both IACP and James Beard. This year, the IACP baking winner, The Art of French Pastry, is also nominated for a James Beard award. Provence, 1970 may also be hoping for déjà vu, because Marcus Samuelsson swept both 2013 awards for food writing for Yes, Chef.

Other cookbooks can’t hope for a sweep. Although I Love New York was nominated for both awards, it didn’t win the IACP award so it will not be a double winner. Other books that made both lists include Gluten Free Girl, Vegetable Literacy, Sauces and Shapes, The Drunken Botanist, and In the Charcuterie.

Noteworthy nominees that didn’t make the IACP list include Historic Heston by Heston Blumenthal, Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop, One Good Dish by David Tanis, and A Work in Progress by René Redzepi.

Do you concur with the James Beard Foundation nominees? Did your favorites make the list?

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  • ellabee  on  March 20, 2014

    IS EYB sponsoring the 'Cookbook of the Year' again for 2014 (chosen from among the category winners)? [Copy editing notes: in the list for 2013, there's no winner noted in the Beverage category, and the title of Southern Comfort is extraneously underlined.] Looking back from only a year, as great an achievement as Cocina Latina represents, I'm pretty sure Jerusalem should have won both the International category and Cookbook of the Year. I think it's going to have the more lasting influence, as well.

  • darcie_b  on  March 20, 2014

    The winner for Beverage for 2013 was Wine Grapes – that is now updated (and the underlining in Southern Comfort removed). Thanks for catching those.

    It would be interesting to see which prior winners have withstood the test of time and which have faded away, and to see if any books that were snubbed, either for titles or nominations, have become classics.

  • ellabee  on  March 20, 2014

    The James Beard awards' relative consistency in categories from year to year, and the fact that they cover only books, makes it easier to assess how past awards have held up. Fairly well, though some remarkable omissions jump out: Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table wasn't nominated in any category! Maybe it seemed like someone else's turn, since several of her other books had won. … [Another editing note: Probably because of changes in the way EYB book titles are formatted in the database, clicking on a title in the 2009 and 2010 James Beard listings no longer takes you to the book's page.]

  • ellabee  on  March 20, 2014

    I haven't looked at the full list for the past decade, but it certainly seems as if the James Beard Foundation judges are determined not to acknowledge the existence of Jamie Oliver or Ina Garten. But if the awards are still around ten years from now, surely one or both of those will have earned a place in the 'Hall of Fame' category.

  • Jane  on  March 20, 2014

    ellabee – publishers have to enter the books and pay a fairly hefty fee. So some books that you think should have been included may not even have been entered. Though I would be very surprised if 'Around My French Table' had not been entered by the publisher. We will fix those link errors from 2009 and 2010. You are quite correct that our book URLs changed after that.

  • mfeldman51  on  March 20, 2014

    Provence, 1970 is a dreadful book, badly written and full of boring gossip. If it wins an award, it is because it has no competition.

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