What’s for dinner?

By Susan Ungaro


Susan Ungaro

What’s on TV tonight?” and “What’s for dinner?” are probably the most frequently repeated questions many of us ask ourselves every day.

As we mark the 30th anniversary of our Foundation, we can’t help but think of the role television has played in fostering our love for food, especially since James Beard himself was one of America’s first food television stars. His pioneering 1946 show, I Love to Eat, paved the way for all the chefs and personalities who have been teaching America how to cook on TV ever since.

Of course, sitcoms and dramas also whet our appetites, with food playing silly and sentimental roles in the on-screen lives of our favorite characters. That’s why this year’s James Beard Awards celebrated the role of food throughout television history. Chef Carla Hall was our host this year at Lyric Opera in Chicago for an exciting evening that celebrated the best of the best in our food world.

Some of the night’s big winners were Outstanding Chef winner Suzanne Goin of Luques in Los Angeles, Outstanding Restaurant winner Alinea in Chicago, Best New Restaurant Shaya in New Orleans, and Rising Star Chef of the Year winner Daniela Soto-Innes of NYC’s Cosme.

After all the awards were announced, attendees, including chefs, food writers, restaurateurs, and others, feasted on some delicious bites from James Beard Award winners from previous years. The dishes were inspired by—what else—their favorite television food moments, and included Aaron Franklin’s barbecued brisket inspired by The Flintstones, Naomi Pomeroy’s Pork Meatloaf with Caramelized Pineapple Gastrique inspired by Sam the Butcher of The Brady Bunch, and Jonathon Sawyer’s Wild Ohio Game Crépinette inspired by Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead.

JamesBeard_cookbookcoverSpeaking of our Foundation’s 30th Anniversary, we are also especially proud of our newest cookbook, James Beard’s All-American Eats: Recipes and Stories from Our Best-Loved Local Restaurants. With 75 great recipes, it’s hard to choose one for you to try but since Chicago was home to our James Beard Awards for the second year now, I thought we’d share the recipe of Lemon Chicken from  America’s Classics Award-winning restaurant Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap. It’s a favorite of mine.

James Beard’s All-American Eats: Recipes and Stories from Our Best-Loved Local Restaurants is available wherever fine books are sold, and on our website at jamesbeard.org/cookbook.

What’s for dinner?