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James Beard Awards 2011 Hangover Observations

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Jose Andres, Outstanding Chef
Jose Andres, Outstanding Chef

Last night some very big deal restaurant personalities walked away with some major accolades from the James Beard Foundation. But while the awards themselves are the central point of event, pretty much everyone who gathered at Lincoln Center were waiting for one thing all night: the after parties.

1) When asked why he wore purple sneaks with his tux, rising star chef Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon, Portland, OR) said it was because he was so nervous while packing that he brought two black left shoes.

2) Given the restaurant world's ambivalence towards the flash sale brand, the Groupon sponsorship was an interesting choice. More interesting was the sheer amount of branding at the awards: green press room, green auditorium, green Groupon lounge, Green Groupon patio with Groupon cupcakes, and those adorable floor stickers (see photos). Tweeted Marco Canora: "Was anyone else freaked out by last nights big brotheresque GROUPON sponsorship of the #jbfa."

3) The actual, real pigs wearing tuxedos (see in slideshow). A petting zoo on the balcony.

4) We did see a nipple slip last night, but it was actually in the press room, not at the after parties.

5) Beard winner Andrea Reusing (Lantern, Chapel Hill) talking about her Atlanta food fest demo on headcheese (with wine pairings). Skedded for 10AM.

6) The major after-party circuit: Boulud Sud/Epicerie Boulud, Per Se, The Modern, Eleven Madison Park, The Torrisi/Momofuku party at the Jane Hotel.

7) Daniel Boulud, in a now expected ace move, held his post-party across the street at his new Boulud Sud and Epicerie Boulud and came on fast and strong. The raw bar was activated, and the kitchen was passing around pretty much the whole menu: wagyu beef, fried artichokes, full plates of pasta, sardines, hummus and ricotta spreads, falafel, a FLATBREAD STATION. The magnums were popped at 10:30 at the latest.

8) From @benleventhal "Per Se good news: Pepin, Achatz, Colicchio. Bad news: see photo."

9) As was the case last year, Eleven Madison Park turned into a frathouse clusterfuck real fast. Beer kegs, dancing on tables, spillage, floozies, D-Biggity spraying champange, Ruth Reichl wandering around with Jonathan Gold. Humm and Pinkerton on the bar spraying champagne. The usual.

10) Spotted 2 AM in the EMP kitchen: Sir Thomas Keller. It was a quick walkthrough, and notably, he did not stop to pick up a hot dog.

11) Around ten EMP staff singing along to Journey — some shirtless.

12) A completely pointless Guinness World Record was set at Kevin Zraly’s afterparty at the Marriott Marquis
in Times Square. 252 people simultaneously uncorked a bottle of wine. Zraly, clad in a baby blue baseball jacket psyched up the crowd while the Guinness official tallied the bodies. A dance party — wherein dozens of 50-somethings cut loose to Motown jams — ensued.

13) Josh Ozersky talking up Meatopia 2011: 45 chefs (vs last year's 25) including the Animal guys and Portland's Naomi Pomeroy. Considering expansion to Austin or Dallas.

14) The as-always humble Gabrielle Hamilton said she never thought she would win and that she thought her book would fail "in three different ways."

15) Last stop for many was the Jane Hotel — cash bar only — with Chang, Carbone, and Torrisi presiding. Italian sausage cart. Aziz Ansari, Jonathan Gold, and Ruth Reichl. Also, John Fraser danced.


More coverage across the Eater universe:

· Eleven Madison Park, Prune, ABC Win Big at Beard Awards [-ENY-]
· José Andrés Wins 2011 James Beard Outstanding Chef Award [-EDC-]
· Rich Melman Gets Chicago's Sole James Beard Award [-ECHI-]
· Rick Bayless Lashes Out at Rich Melman After Beard Awards [-ECHI-]
· Gabriel Rucker Wins Beard's Rising Star Chef of the Year 2011 [-EPDX-]
· Andy Ricker Brings the Best Chef: Northwest Award to PDX [-EPDX-]
· Tyson Cole Wins Best Chef: Southwest at the Beard Awards [-EATX-]
· Ouch. Seattle All But Shut Out of Tonight's James Beard Awards [-ESEA-]
· LA Gets Snubbed (Again) at the James Beard Awards 2011 [-ELA-]
· Revelry, Despite Rough Night for Seattle's Beard Delegation [-ESEA-]
· Portland Goes Four-for-Four at the James Beard Awards [-EPDX-]

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