Tweeting My Way Through Beard and Reporting LIVE!

 

I may not have been going to the beard awards for the past 13 years like @foodwriterdiary has- but I do agree that the press room even in the past three years has gotten crazy crowded. Hey @BeardFoundation, time to either get a bit more selective about who enters the press room OR-even better, get a BIGGER press room. Come on, this is a good thing! Finally Beard is getting all kinds of recognition from tweeters and writers and bloggers and spreading the word far and wide across the world about the great chefs from everywhere in the world  who make the best food and write the best cookbooks in the U.S.! I say make the awards ceremony in the press room and put the bloggers in the audience arena. It certainly seems like there are more bloggers than attendees anyway right! Regardless of the size and crowds, this year we had amazing press room food. Last year we had caviar and cheese and cocktails, but this year we were fed more substantial fare like #meatballshop meatballs on polenta to help absorb those crazy gin bitter lady cocktails! The Bitter Lady cocktails were made with egg whites, which according to the microbiologist/mixologist making them, the booze kills the salmonella. So I felt safe drinking it!

 Which brings up an interesting point-the awards are pretty expensive and @Groupon was a sponsor –but yet, you can’t buy a discounted Beard ticket through @groupon and @beardfoundation tickets are pretty pricy! This year they ran about $450 bucks a piece! So I was totally confused about the whole Groupon sponsor thing-I mean I guess they were trying to send a message that in general you can get good restaurant deals via groupon, but I am curious as to how many @beardfoundation award winning chefs actually use the groupon service??

 Let’s just hope next year that Groupon gets us all a really good deal to the award show-not that I buy a ticket since I am an established writer with many blogs and hard copy publications (I earned my press pass-years of tedious writing about food science and culinary arts for magazines that deal with food science stuff like @ift and #researchchefassociation topics)

 I went into @beardfoundation awards blind this year. I didn’t do my normal review of who the nominees were, I didn’t create a cheat sheet to follow during the show-I just figured it would come to me while on the green carpet.  It didn’t really and I had to be one of the many bloggers who bugged Bret Thorn –asking him repeatedly “who won”! By the way, you should read Bret’s dry humor coverage  of the awards I always like living the awards vicariously through Bret, even while experiencing them live myself! 

Since I didn’t know who the winners were, I basically stood there in my media spot on the green carpet and called out chefs like Wylie Dufrense,  @andrewzimmern, Ming Tsai and Duff Goldberg  (the ace of cakes guy-he needs a #twitteraccount) and stumped them with random food science questions.  Highlights of the night included @Andrewzimmern telling me about how exotic corn based snacks from Africa will be all the rage in 2012 and that he was wondering where all the best after hour @beardfoundation parties were going to be!

and Duff giving me a blank stare when I asked him what he thought of the commercialization of his cake products. In Duff’s defense, I am proud to note that he promises to join the  #researchchefassociation -he promised during our interview.

I tried to get Ming Tsai to discuss with me the commercialization of HIS products but he mostly wanted to discuss combating obesity in America:

which is cool-I mean that’s important too I guess. He mentioned his whole wheat and brown rice chips that #KellogsCereal manufactured for him. He said that he wanted them healthy and the only resemblance to #pringles is that they would be so good that “no one could eat just one” GO MING TSAI!!! I love that guy.  You can watch all my goofy movies that I made with my brother Rob (no twitter handle)and I made together. We do @beardfoundation #jbfa awards together every year , except last year when I went with my high school art teacher David Magana who I hadn’t seen since 1990.

I didn’t ask @RickBayless any questions, I did tell him that for the first time I was able to get served at one of his restaurants without a reservation, that would be his new Frontera Grill in terminal B (Gate B10 United airlines) at @ORD airport! Amazing Tortas. He was happy that I picked his place over @McDonalds -right next door-#mcdonaldsfriesaremyweakness

 I didn’t really know who the nominees were but I kind of didn’t care too much. Everyone who is nominated totally rocks anyway and its just splitting hairs right-they are all winners. But if you must know who technically won, here is the official list without bias or opinion, posted by the @beardfoundation folk .  I just reviewed the list of winners and can totally see how @Uchiaustin in Austin and @Cochon555 in New Orleans won awards. I love both those places! Years ago –back when I used to work at a Japanese company that encouraged expensive customer dinners, I took a customer to Uchi and we got to cook our own meat on a rock, which was quite avante garde back in 2007-but now I guess everyone cooks their own food at the table.  I was happy to see that @lotusofsiamlv won, I actually ate there per @d_rosengarten recommendation back in 2006.  Although several bloggers like @chandrasplate @foodwritersdiary noted that Tyson Cole  (@uchiaustin) was none too pleased that he had to share his award with @lotusofsiamlv.  I have also eaten at Cochon several times and I always get this crispy red fish dish that is so good that I encourage everyone to go there and order it at the @ift AKA www.ift.org conference in New Orleans this summer #tradeshowsrock @iftmedia!!!!   Lastly, I have been to @zingermans (best chef, great lakes) but not lately so no comment on that.

Wylie didn’t win best chef, but he did tell me all about a new edible egg made out of clay, a new exciting food science inspired dish that he is serving up at @wd50

 All in all, a great time was had by all. I didn’t stay out too late because I accidently got stranded after the first party at @dbnewyorkny , had been hanging out with Wonder boy AKA @greg_grossman who is this up and coming rising culinary superstar who can’t legally drink yet. Greg and I had dinner at El Bulli in January, thanks to Gerry Dawes who somehow miraculously got us a last minute reservation. You can read about that HERE! and part TWO of that Bulli Story HERE

Since I am not from #NYC , and since @beardfoundations did not exactly PAY for me to be a media attendee, I had to pay for this trip myself. How much did it cost me?

12,500 United Airlines Flyer Miles (SFO-NYC)
$380 dollars OW ticket (NYC-SFO)
$203.50 hotel room on 36th street between 8th and 9th
$48 Taxi’s and assorted transportation
$0 food @beardfoundation was kind enough to provide me with food
 

Total COST!!! PRICELESS  -#foreverythingelsewegotmastercardright! IT was @BEARDFOUNDATION awards for foodssake!!

 
 

 Can’t wait till next year!!

About Rachel Zemser