San Francisco’s Bar Agricole designed by Aidlin Darling Design, the winning design at the 2011 James Beard Awards. Image via.
James Beard is a household name in the food world. Hailed as the “dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954, Beard blazed a trail for the American ‘foodie,’ seeing the potential of a fledgling food culture to become a celebrated national cuisine. As teacher, television personality, journalist, and cookbook author, Beard championed a passion for America’s diverse culinary heritage, which, with his help, has blossomed into sweeping movements in gastronomy, from the turn to local products and markets to new kinds of food journalism.
In essence, the James Beard Foundation knows that food is more than just nutrition. Food is “an integral part of our everyday lives. Food is economics, politics, entertainment, culture, fashion, family, passion…and nourishment.” Through their eyes, food is in close kinship with design: the comfort of a familiar kitchen table can beckon you to savor a home-cooked meal, and the cold city air brings added appreciation to a steamy street-vending cart. And of course, a restaurant is much more than its menu; it is an entirely designed experience, a single or multi-course program crafted to stimulate your senses and take you somewhere else.
Thus the James Beard Awards, which have played an instrumental role in shaping America’s culinary landscape, have aptly included awards in restaurant design. What Time proclaimed as “the Oscars of the food world” recognizes the visual and the spatial as key ingredients in any dining experience, awarding architects, interior designers as well as graphic designers for their contributions to gastronomy. The James Beard Award for Restaurant Design hopes to empower and connect talented designers with a new world of potential clients. To learn more about the award, visit the James Beard Foundation site, and submit your entry before January 20th, 2012.
The ultimate urban dining experience: A Razor, A Shiny Knife serves lunch on the L train in New York. Image courtesy A Razor, A Shiny Knife.