Chicago's Erick Williams wins James Beard Award
Some of the nation's top chefs braved the storm and returned to the Civic Opera House last night for the 2022 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards.
- But our locals didn't fare well.
\Why it matters: Of the nine local nominations, only Chef Erick Williams of Virtue took home some hardware.
- He won the award for Best Chef: Great Lakes Region after nominated for the same award in 2020.
- Williams beat out fellow local chefs Jason Hammel of Lula Cafe, Noah Sandoval of Oriole and John Shields and Karen Urie Shields of Smyth.
What he's saying: "I didn't get here of myself or by myself. I got here by way of my community and by my culture," Williams said in his acceptance speech.
Of note: Even though many of the local nominees lost, Erika Allen of the South Side-based Urban Growers Collective was awarded a Leadership Award on Sunday.
The big picture: Resuming the in-person event brings much-needed tourism and tax dollars — not to mention prestige — as we recover from the pandemic. The awards capped off a weekend of festivities that seemed to bring the city back to life.
- "For the world to come back to Chicago to celebrate the culinary arts is tremendous," Mayor Lightfoot tells Axios. "The people in this industry have been through a lot over these last two years."
💭 Monica's thought bubble: It was an exciting year between interviewing all the winners for our other Axios newsletters and being sent down to the Civic Opera House basement when tornado warnings went off.
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