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POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Frequently Asked Questions
General Information
Restaurant and Chef Awards
Book Awards
Journalism Awards
Design and Graphics Awards
Broadcast Media Awards
Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America and the Achievement Awards


Frequently Asked Questions

The rapid growth and breadth of the James Beard Foundation Awards mean that the rules and regulations governing the Awards can be confusing. There are six distinct awards programs, each with separate policies and procedures. To help you sort them out, we’ve summed up much of the information you need to know in these lists of frequently asked questions and our policies and procedures.

What’s the difference between the Awards Committee and the individual Awards committees?
The Awards Committee oversees the administration of the entire Awards process and selects the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian of the Year awards. The six individual Awards committees (Restaurant and Chef, Books, Journalism, Design and Graphics, Broadcast Media, and Who’s Who) are made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. The chair of each committee sits on the Awards Committee.

And who are the Awards judges?
The judges for each category are selected by the respective Awards committees. They choose the winners by reviewing the entries and voting with secret ballots. The judges are all experts in their fields who may not enter their Awards category during the year they are judging. They can, however, enter other Awards categories.

How are the Awards financed?
The Awards are a program of the James Beard Foundation, which means the trustees of the Foundation have overall fiduciary responsibility for the Beard Awards. The finances of the Awards are separately accounted for in the Foundation's books and records. Sponsorship, entry fees, and ticket and advertising sales are intended to cover the cost of the Awards program, which includes fees for the independent auditors, administrative costs for the judging, the costs for the production of the ceremony, and the costs associated with the reception. In addition, the Foundation is providing transportation to the Awards, accommodations, and food reimbursements for each of the reception chefs.

Can you win if you haven’t participated in a Beard Foundation event?
Absolutely. Every step is taken to assure that the Awards are open to all eligible candidates and administered fairly. James Beard Foundation staff are not allowed to vote on the Awards, nor are Beard Trustees. And although we are extremely grateful to everyone who participates in our events, those events are in no way related to the Awards process. Also, you do not need to be a James Beard Foundation member to receive a nomination or win an award. In fact, some of our highest honors have been received by chefs who have never participated in a Beard event.

Is there anything you can do to increase your chances of winning?
Besides performing to the best of your abilities, there’s nothing you can do to affect the outcome.

Are James Beard Foundation Trustees eligible for an award?
No. James Beard Foundation Trustees are not eligible to win a James Beard Foundation Award.

What happens if there is no clear winner in a category?
Although the specific rules depend on the particular Awards category under consideration, the guiding principal of the Awards Committee is to award excellence. If, according to the judges, none of the entries in a particular category are worthy of an award, none will be given. In the event of a tie, the tie will either be broken by the Awards Committee or two awards will be given.

Can the sponsors affect the outcome?
Absolutely not. Sponsors do not take part in judging.

What do you win?
Bragging rights. A handsome medal, an impressive certificate, a lot of publicity, and the satisfaction of having been recognized by your peers. There are no cash awards.


General Information

The James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their field. The Awards are presented by the James Beard Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to furthering the appreciation and practice of fine food and beverage. The James Beard Foundation Awards were established in 1990 through the merging of the two most prominent culinary awards in North America at the time: The R.T. French Tastemaker Cookbook Awards and the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. The James Beard Foundation expanded the program to include Restaurant and Chef Awards. The first awards were given in May 1991; in 1992 the James Beard Foundation established the Journalism Awards; in 1993 the Electronic Media (now Broadcast Media) Awards were introduced; and in 1995 the first Restaurant Design (now Design and Graphic) Awards were presented.

The Awards Committee of the James Beard Foundation determines policies and procedures for the James Beard Foundation Awards. The Awards Committee consists of the chairperson of each Awards program, members of the Foundation's Board of Trustees, and members at large.

The James Beard Foundation Awards consist of six separate recognition programs: Books, Broadcast Media, Journalism, Design and Graphics, Restaurant and Chef, and Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America and Achievement Awards. Each program is administered by a volunteer committee whose members serve staggered terms of one to three years. Each committee chairperson reports to the Awards Committee. A committee member is ineligible to enter the awards competition during his or her year of service. (This rule applies only to the Awards program that the committee person oversees.) Ballot tabulation for the James Beard Foundation Awards is handled by independent accounting firm Lutz and Carr. All results are final and are kept confidential until the Awards presentation ceremony.

The James Beard Foundation Awards are financed by the James Beard Foundation with partial underwriting ("sponsorship") provided by corporations, food product associations, and other contributors. Event and award sponsors neither vote nor influence the policies and procedures of the James Beard Foundation Awards. The James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards receive no outside corporate support and are financed solely by the James Beard Foundation. The James Beard Foundation Awards calendar year runs May to May with an open call-to-entry beginning in Mid-October. Awards nominees are announced on March 24 and award winners are announced at the Awards Gala on June 8 and the Media Awards Dinner on June 6. Each award winner receives a certificate and a bronze medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash awards.


Restaurant and Chef Awards

What year were they established and by whom?
1990, by the James Beard Foundation.

Who are the sponsors of the Awards in 2008?
There is no overall sponsor; rather, different awards are presented by different companies. This year’s sponsors are All-Clad Metalcrafters, American Express, Contessa Premium Foods, S.Pellegrino, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., and Waterford Wedgwood.

Who or what is eligible to win?
Eligibility depends on the Awards category. For instance, to be nominated for a Rising Star Chef award, the chef must be age 30 or younger. Once a chef wins a particular award, he or she is ineligible to win it again for five years, but is still eligible to win an award in another category.

How are the nominees selected?
Anyone can submit a chef or restaurant for consideration during the open online call for entries in the fall. The Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee produces a nominating ballot based on the results of the open call, with up to 20 names in each category. This online ballot is available to more than 400 judges, who select the five official nominees in each category. The same judges then vote on these five nominees to choose the winners. There is no entry fee.

When are the nominees announced?
This year, nominees were announced on March 24 at the Beard House and are posted on www.jamesbeard.org.

Who chooses the winners?
The judges include previous Restaurant and Chef Award winners, the Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee, 25 leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, and culinary educators in each of the 10 regions. There are more than 400 judges nationwide.

What are the judges looking for?
In each category, the judges are looking for individuals whose contribution to their field is unique and long-lasting. The specific criteria change depending on the category. For example, the Outstanding Restaurant award is given to a restaurant that is at least ten years old and that has set industry standards, while the Best New Restaurant Award is given to a new restaurant judged likely to influence future trends that opened in the previous calendar year.

How do you avoid playing favorites?
All the balloting is conducted by the independent accounting firm of Lutz & Carr.

When are the winners announced?
Sunday, June 8, at the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony.


Book Awards

What year were they established and by whom?
1966, by French’s Mustard as the R. T. French Tastemaker Awards. For a time, they were administered in turn by Duncan Hines, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, and the IACP. The Beard Foundation took them into the fold in 1990.

Who are the sponsors of the Awards in 2008?
There is no sponsor of the Book Awards this year.

Who or what is eligible to win?
Any book in English that has been published in the United States or Canada during the previous calendar year.

How are the nominees selected?
Publishers, editors, and authors submit their books for consideration. There is a $100 entry fee.

When are the nominees announced?
This year, nominees were announced on March 24 at the Beard House and are posted on www.jamesbeard.org.

Who chooses the winners?
The Book Awards committee divides the entries into categories reflecting publishing trends, and then four judges are assigned to each category. The judges (more than 50) are not committee members; rather, they’re editors, authors, journalists, and culinary educators who have not published a culinary book during the current Awards year.

What are the judges looking for?
Books that contribute to the growing canon of information and knowledge about food and beverage. Content, accuracy, design, and writing style are among the elements considered.

How do you avoid playing favorites?
All the balloting is conducted by the independent accounting firm of Lutz & Carr.

When are the winners announced?
Sunday, June 8, at the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony.


Journalism Awards

What year were they established and by whom?
1992, by the James Beard Foundation.

Who are the sponsors of the Awards in 2008?
There is no sponsor of the Journalism Awards. In order for journalists to feel free to report on any topic without fear that it could affect their chance of winning, the Journalism Awards have never had a corporate sponsor. However, certain non-branded sponsors (such as product marketing boards) do underwrite the cost of the Media Awards Dinner ceremony at which the Awards are presented.

Who or what is eligible to win?
Any article that was published in English in the United States or Canada during the previous calendar year.

How are the nominees selected?
Writers, journalists, and editors submit their articles for consideration. There is a $100 entry fee.

When are the nominees announced?
This year, nominees were announced on March 24 at the Beard House and are posted on www.jamesbeard.org.

Who chooses the winners?
Working editors, journalists (not covering food and beverage topics), retired food and beverage editors and writers, and deans and professors of leading journalism colleges. The judges (more than 80 in total) may not enter this competition, nor can they have reported on food and beverage topics during the current Awards year.

What are the judges looking for?
Accurate, insightful reporting, exceptional writing, unusual perspectives, and other attributes of fine journalism as they pertain to food and beverage topics.

How do you avoid playing favorites?
All the balloting is conducted by the independent accounting firm of Lutz & Carr.

When are the winners announced?
On Friday, June 6, at the Media Awards Dinner.


Design and Graphics Awards

What year were they established and by whom?
1994, by the James Beard Foundation.

Who are the sponsors of the Awards in 2008?
There is no sponsor of the Design and Graphics Awards this year.

Who or what is eligible to win?
Any restaurant or design project that was completed or redone in North America within the last three years ( 2005–2007 for the 2008 awards).

How are the nominees selected?
Architects, interior designers, and graphic designers submit their projects for consideration. There is a $100 entry fee.

When are the nominees announced?
This year, nominees were announced on March 24 at the Beard House and are posted on www.jamesbeard.org.

Who chooses the winners?
The Design and Graphics Awards Committee is made up of architects, interior designers, and graphic designers. The committee both chooses the jurors who will judge the winners and oversees the process.

What are the judges looking for?
Beautiful functional design that seamlessly melds the setting and theme of the restaurant environment.

How do you avoid playing favorites?
The final vote by the jury is conducted by secret ballot.

When are the winners announced?
Sunday, June 8, at the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony.


Broadcast Media Awards

What year were they established and by whom?
1993, by the James Beard Foundation.

Who are the sponsors of the Awards in 2008?
Viking Range Corporation is the sponsor of the Broadcast Media Awards.

Who or what is eligible to win?
Any English-language TV, radio, or webcast show or segment on food, cooking, or gastronomy, copyrighted and broadcast in the United States or Canada during the previous calendar year.

How are the nominees selected?
Producers, writers, hosts, and other people involved in the production submit their work for consideration. There is a $100 entry fee.

When are the nominees announced?
This year, nominees were announced on March 24 at the Beard House and are posted on www.jamesbeard.org.

Who chooses the winners?
The Broadcast Media Awards Committee divides the entries into categories making sure that they are entered in the correct categories, then five judges are assigned to each category. The judges (more than 30 in total) are producers, educators, editors, and print journalists. Judges may not enter this competition during the year they are judging.

What are the judges looking for?
Creativity, accuracy, high production values, and a fresh perspective on food- and beverage-related topics.

How do you avoid playing favorites?
All the balloting is conducted by the independent accounting firm of Lutz & Carr.

When are the winners announced?
On Friday, June 6, at the Media Awards Dinner.


Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America and the Achievement Awards

What year were they established and by whom?
1984, by Cook’s Magazine and Restaurant Business. The James Beard Foundation took them into the fold in 1990.

Who are the sponsors of the Awards in 2008?
There is no sponsor of the Who’s Who this year. Gourmet magazine is underwriting the by-invitation-only reception ceremony when the 2008 Who's Who inductees will be announced.

Who or what is eligible to win?
Any food or beverage industry professional who has made a significant contribution to the industry.

How are the nominees selected?
Members of Who’s Who nominate and vote on new inductees. There is no entry fee.

When are the nominees announced?
There are no nominees for Who's Who. The Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian award recipients are announced on March 24.

Who chooses the winners?
Members of the Who’s Who vote on new members. The Awards Committee selects the Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian award recipients.

What are the judges looking for?
Unique and long-lasting contribution to the field for at least a decade, with a national impact.

How do you avoid playing favorites?
Because of the sheer size of the voting body, the people chosen for this award represent the opinion of the industry as a whole. Balloting is conducted by the independent accounting firm of Lutz & Carr.

When are the winners inducted?
Saturday, June 7, at an invitation-only ceremony hosted by Gourmet magazine and the James Beard Foundation.


For More Information:

If you would like more information about the James Beard Foundation Awards, please call Dominique Shuler at 212.627.1111 x563. For a list of previous winners or current nominees, please log onto www.jamesbeard.org under “search Awards”.