Jun 13, 2022 - Food and Drink

Chicago wins at the James Beard Media Awards

Emma Janzen and Julia Momosé accept Beard awards from Padma Lakshmi on Saturday night at Columbia College. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

If our city seemed extra full of foodies this weekend, it was because the James Beard Media Awards, the Emmys of the culinary world, returned to Chicago after three decades in New York.

Why it matters: Chicagoans scored some big prizes at an event that brings media in from across the world.

  • Plus, the awards ceremony reception highlighted the food of neighborhood spots, including Demera in Uptown, Dos Urban Cantina in Logan Square and Sun Wah BBQ.
  • Rewatch the Saturday event here.

Local winners: Trial lawyer and TikTok star Joanne Lee Molinaro was honored for her "Korean Vegan Cookbook."

  • The book prominently features her suburban immigrant parents, who attended the ceremony. She thanked readers for "seeing and hearing them, and making them feel like they are important enough to be in a book."
  • Julia Momosé of Kumiko and Emma Janzen won for "The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes." Momosé thanked her publishers for trusting someone who'd "never written anything before except randomly long Instagram posts."
  • Newly arrived Pilsen resident Ahmed Ali Akbar won for his Eater story on hunting down delicious Pakistani mangoes through WhatsApp.

State of play: Miami Herald food editor Carlos Frias accepted a distinguished writing award and took the moment to remember his father, who was shot and killed in 2020.

  • "We have to be brave enough to say in this country that the lives of our loved ones are more important than our love of guns," he said through tears to a standing ovation.
food on plate
Sun Wah BBQ served tofu noodles and duck at the James Beard Media Awards. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Between the lines: Axios Chicago subscriber and our Chicago Tribune pal Louisa Chu did not win this year. Monica, a five-time losing nominee, feels her pain.

What's next: The chef and restaurant awards take place tonight at the Civic Opera House.

  • We'll be there to get all the scoops on national and local awards for our Axios newsletters across the nation.
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