by Martha Bayne
The winners of this year's James Beard Awards have been announced. To the surprise of probably no one, Grant Achatz was named Best Chef in America, Great Lakes Region, while Frontera Grill walked off with the Best Restaurant prize--bestowed upon the eatery that "serves as a national standard bearer of consistency of quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service" (and, to fit those criteria, on one that's been around a while). Tru was honored with the Best Service award.
Over in the ever-more-crowded field of food writing, a few things leap out from the list: the inspiring Marion Nestle got the nod for her encylopedic What to Eat, and Michael Pollan was swept into the "Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America" ranks (whatever that means). And in a moment of pride for alt-weekly writers everywhere, the great Dara Moskowitz, of the Minneapolis City Pages, picked up not one but two more honors: for her weekly column, and for her writing about booze (the latter shared with Eric Felten from the Wall Street Journal).
What *does* it all mean? It depends on who you ask.