DOWNTOWN — Curtis Duffy of Grace restaurant received a James Beard Award as Best Chef Great Lakes during a glittering black-tie gala held Monday night at the Lyric Opera.
Chicago was guaranteed a victory in the Great Lakes category, having swept all five nominations. Also in the running: Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice; Lee Wolen, Boka; Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria; and Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia.
The award was presented by Bob Mariano and Stephanie Izard.
Previously nominated in 2015, Duffy brought his two young daughters to the stage with him to accept the award.
He thanked his business partners and "the most amazing restaurant staff in the country."
The Beard Awards, dubbed the "Oscars of the food world," honor the country's top culinary talent. This is the second year the Beard Foundation has held its award ceremony in Chicago.
Carla Hall of ABC's "The Chew" hosted the event. It's been a big week for Hall, who was on hand to accept an Outstanding Talk Show Daytime Emmy for "The Chew" on Sunday.
Other Chicago finalists included:
Outstanding Restaurant: Alinea
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Meg Galus, Boka
Outstanding Restaurateur: Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group (Boka, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro, Swift & Sons, and others)
Outstanding Service: North Pond, Topolobampo
Outstanding Wine Program: Sepia
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Jennifer Tomaska, Next
Restaurant Design (76 seats and over):
• Cherry Circle Room. Firm: Land and Sea Dept. Designers: Mode Carpentry, Land and Sea Dept.
• Cindy's Rooftop Restaurant. Firm: Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors. Designers: Robin Standefer and Steven Alesch.
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