You might think, at first blush, that Columbus is a shoo-in for a James Beard award. Julia Child once described James Beard as “the quintessential American cook;” Columbus, a test market for fast-food chains for years, has long been a quintessential American city. At the same time, both are progressive: Columbus was just named the up-and-coming gay city of 2011, and Beard was expelled from Reed College for homosexual activity back in the 1920s. Yet despite these obvious similarities, with the exception of the Dispatch’s own Robin Davis (who won while living in a different city), Columbus, unlike Cleveland (!!), is home to no winners of the prestigious James Beard Award.
We believe the time has come for this travesty to end. And we want your help in putting a stop to it.
The Beard Award nominations are open from now until December 31 (just click here to submit your choices). In past years, Kent Rigsby of Rigsby’s Kitchen and Magdiale Wolmark of Dragonfly Neo-V (soon to be reopened as Till) have been nominated in the Best Chef—Great Lakes Region category, and those worthy chefs probably will be again—with good reason. We would, in addition, urge you to forward two more names to the Beard Foundation this year, names that our Board believes brook no argument whatsoever: Chef Ryuji (“Mike”) Kimura of Kihachi, whose culinary skill wowed Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman on Bourdain’s No Reservations show, and Spencer Budros, the pastry wizard behind Columbus’ star pâtisserie, Pistacia Vera.
If you are reading this blog, you don’t need us to tell you anything more about these people. Please go vote for them now—and with any luck at all, Columbus will be able to celebrate the Beard Award committee’s recognition of their accomplishments in a few months’ time.