Top chefs. Gorgeous dresses and smart suits. Larger-than-life personalities Melt-in-your mouth dishes. Colorful alcoholic concoctions. That sums up the James Beard Awards and while Monday night's big awards ceremony was dedicated to recognizing star chefs from around the country, a group of us were at Friday night's much more intimate sit-down dinner for the James Beard Media Awards where we were finalists for three prizes.
After hob nobbing at the cocktail party with Colman Andrews, Barry Estabrook and Corby Kummer, I found our seats. We had two full tables, were up for three awards and held our breaths as Ted Allen and Gail Simmons announced the winners. I was sitting next to contributing editor Rachael Moeller Gorman, (who has won for us before). She was so nervous she could barely touch her salmon en papillote. Fortunately, the award she was nominated for came early on.
The journalism awards were open to entries from all media. And for the second year in a row, EatingWell Magazine won the category Health and Nutrition. The 2011 award went to Rachael for her article “Captain of the Happier Meal ” (June 2010), a profile of scientist Joe Hibbeln and his research linking omega-3s with depression. The two other finalists were Peter Jaret’s Runner’s World story “Pasta Perfect” and Joe Fassler’s multipart TheAtlantic.com coverage of the egg contamination scare.
Almost immediately after came the category Environment, Food Politics and Policy, We had some really tough competition there from Barry Estabrook’s Gastronomica article “A Tale of Two Dairies” and Monica Eng’s Chicago Tribune piece “CPS Won’t Let Kids Eat Their Vegetables.” But there was good news:
Sea Change  (April 2010), marine biologist Carl Safina’s eye-opening article about the benefits of eating smaller fish, won too and Jesse Bruschini, the vice-president of Carl's Blue Ocean Institute accepted the award on his behalf since Carl was in Alaska.
Then we had to wait nearly an hour for the cookbook awards. Jessie, Stacy, Alesia, Jennifer and Carolyn were biting their fingernails at Table 13. The two other finalists were a tough match: The Very Best Recipes for Health from The New York Times’ Martha Rose Shulman and Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well by Terry Walters. And guess what? We WON a third time! The Simple Art of EatingWell  (Countryman Press) by Jessie Price and the Editors of EatingWell took the Cookbook with Healthy Focus award.
Yup, lil' ol EatingWell took home more awards than any other magazine, newspaper or media company, beating out some stiff competition that came from everyone from The New York Times to TheAtlantic.com to Saveur. A huge round of cheers to the writers who worked on these award-winners!
Pictured above: Asst. Managing Editor Alesia Depot, art director Amanda Coyle, writer Rachael Moeller Gorman, our Countryman Press publisher Kermit Hummel, Food Editor Jessie Price, Test Kitchen Director Stacy Fraser, Assoc. Food Editor Carolyn Malcoun. Not pictured: writer Carl Safina, Managing Editor, Wendy Ruopp, Assoc. Food Editor Hilary Meyer, Production Director Jennifer Brown, Photographer Ken Burris, Editor at large Nicci Micco, Nutrition Editor Brierley Wright, Web Editor Michelle Edelbaum, Recipe Tester Carolyn Casner and many others who worked hard on these projects.