The Eater live blog is now over; thanks for following along!
Tonight, from the depths of the Lyric Opera in Chicago, the James Beard Foundation will host its 2017 Restaurant and Chef Awards, the prize considered by many to be the highest honor in the North American restaurant community. There will be shiny medals and copious amounts of Champagne backstage. There will be Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson in the unenviable role of hosting an event for which literally no one cares about who the host is. And when it comes to who actually takes home the evening’s prizes, there will be surprises and disappointments, smiles and shrugs as chefs and other industry pros make a beeline for that Champagne to either toast their achievements or drown out their frustration at the always unpredictable outcomes.
And because the event is also somewhat unaffectionately known as the “Oscars of the food world,” effectively acting as the culinary world’s Academy Awards, NFL Draft, and Met Gala rolled into one, from now until the evening’s final award, Eater’s Erin DeJesus and Esra Erol — along with editor Hillary Dixler, who is on the ground in Chicago, rocking a pretty great white blazer from within the press area — will be live-blogging the ceremony.
This multi-coastal team of gif-lovers and pun enthusiasts will bring the latest winners, maybe-skeptical commentary, and wild pontificating all evening. Do follow along below (and via the livestream), and pipe up in the comments and on Twitter (holler at us @eater) to ask your burning questions and perhaps achieve a fleeting moment of live blog fame.