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James Beard Foundation Announces E-Book Submissions, Splits Restaurant Design Into Two Categories

This morning the James Beard Foundation announced a few changes to their award categories. First up, it's going to allow the entry of e-books into the book side of the awards. According to a release, "e-books will be considered in the same categories as print books in order to put an emphasis on the fact that they are being recognized for the quality of the content and overall positive reader's experience."

JBF president Susan Ungaro tells Eater that this follows last year's "platform-neutral" approach to the journalism awards that eliminated most of the platform-specific awards. Said Ungaro, "This year our book awards committee decided they wanted to follow the same belief that we want to welcome online book submissions as well as traditional print." She calls it an "evolution" that "recognizes changes in the state of the industry our judges and voters are judging."

Secondly, the "Outstanding Restaurant Graphics" will be eliminated and incorporated into the Restaurant Design category, which will now be broken up into two new sub-categories: Restaurants of 76 seats and over; and Restaurants of 75 seats and under. Says the press release, "Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, and all other design aspects of a restaurant will now be considered comprehensively in each submission for restaurant design." Ungaro tells Eater that it's to make the awards "more reflective of what's happening in the industry and to increase entries and recognition of how important the overall total design effort in a restaurant is." According to Ungaro, the committee decided that the "best way would be to incorporate both graphics and the environment of the design in one category and divide them into, for lack of a better word, large and small." Here's the press release:

James Beard Foundation Announces Changes to Three 2013 Awards Categories

New York, NY (October 23, 2012) –The James Beard Foundation has announced changes and additions to their award categories for the culinary industry's most prestigious honors.

The James Beard Book Committee has chosen, for the first time ever, to allow the entry of electronic books due to growth within the industry as well as the increased sales, which are climbing at a rate much faster than that for traditional books. The committee recognizes that the e-book is now an incredibly viable format for important food writing and should be allowed consideration in the awards. "Electronic publishing is developing rapidly and it's bound to attract creative, thoughtful writers and publishers," said Matt Sartwell, Head of the Book Committee. "We want to hear from them in the same way that we've been hearing from the best authors of printed books over the last three decades."

Starting with the 2013 awards, e-books will be considered in the same categories as print books in order to put an emphasis on the fact that they are being recognized for the quality of the content and overall positive reader's experience. "The James Beard Book Awards are designed to recognize excellence, and we'll be looking for it regardless of whether it comes on paper or on a screen," stated Sartwell. Electronic books will be accepted in any format which can be viewed using freely available software which operates in all commonly used operating systems. Entries which require the purchase of a specific brand of viewing device will not be accepted. Additionally, a work may only be submitted in one format.

Additional changes to the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards include an evolution of the Restaurant Design category, which will now recognize the two different scales of restaurant design and character.
"The Restaurant Design Award acknowledges the growing importance of good design in all types of dining establishments," said Brooke Hodge, New York Times Design Writer and Chair of the James Beard Foundation's Restaurant Design Committee. "These two new awards will allow us to recognize and reward a broader range of design talent."

Furthermore, the committee has decided to unify design submissions, which will now be considered extensively in two categories: Restaurants of 76 seats and over; and Restaurants of 75 seats and under. Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, and all other design aspects of a restaurant will now be considered comprehensively in each submission for restaurant design. As previously reported in June 2012, there have been changes to the Restaurant and Best Chef Awards categories. The following changes were made, beginning in 2013, Chefs in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will be eligible to enter the "Best Chef South" Award and/ or the national awards, and Nevada will join with Hawaii to form the new Western region of "Best Chef West."

The deadlines for entries are as follows:
Book Awards – December 17, 2012
Restaurant and Chefs Awards – December 31, 2012
Journalism – January 9, 2013
Design – January 9, 2013
Broadcast Media – January 9, 2013

· All James Beard Awards Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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