Today the James Beard Association announced its finalists for the annual awards. I’m particularly interested in the Journalism Awards category: who the authors are and what they wrote.
The first thing I noticed is that most of the nominees are white men. They are full-time writers, reporters or editors at their publications. A few are freelance writers and long-time contributers to their publications. Some have already won awards. Some are book authors. Almost all seem based in the mid-west or the East Coast.
The few freelance writers nominated have a relationship with their publication. Translation: They didn’t write one piece for a magazine once.
Now, you can see the list of nominees on many other websites, but so far I haven’t found any sites offering links to the actual articles. It took me a couple of hours, and I didn’t find them all. But in service to you, who might wonder if you could ever write an award-winning article, here are 17 of the nominated pieces, and a little about who wrote them.
I hope you’ll take time and read some of these articles. One thing you’ll notice about them: they’re long. You might also wonder what makes these pieces good enough to be nominated for a Beard award. Is it about their cleverness? Depth of researcher? Depth of culinary knowledge? Unique point of view? Knowing how to cover a story? Finding a trendy topic?
Read a few. I’d love to know your opinion.
Magazine Feature Writing about Restaurants And/Or Chef
American Pie, GQ. Alan Richman, contributing editor and previous winner
Soul of a City, Saveur. Anya Von Bremzen, author and contributing editor to Travel & Leisure
The Last Chinese Barbecue, Gourmet. Frances Lam, contributing editor
Magazine Feature Writing With Recipes
Magazine Feature Writing Without Recipes
Hillbilly Truffle, GQ. Alan Richman, contributing editor and previous winner
The Price of Tomatoes, Gourmet. Barry Estabrook, contributing editor
The Taste Makers, The New Yorker. Raffi Khatchadourian, staff writer
MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award
Best Newspaper Feature Writing
Newspaper Feature Writing about Restaurants and/or Chefs
How Not to Hire a Chef, Washington City Paper. Tim Carman, staff writer
Reporting on Health, Environment or Nutrition
Nachos for Lunch? Yes, Every Day, Chicago Tribune. Monica Eng, Tribune reporter
Throwing Out the Wheat, Slate. Daniel Engber, Slate senior editor
…Or Not to Bee, Eating Well. Rowan Jacobsen, author of two books.
(Also: The only individual nominated for a food blog is Hank Shaw, also nominated last year, for Hunter, Gardener, Angler, Cook. He is a former newspaper reporter.)