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Seven Philly Chefs Are Cooking Dinner for 550 Food Experts at the James Beard Media Awards

No pressure

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Kate Jacoby and her team at Vedge
Rob Rabena/Courtesy of Visit Philly

The first James Beard Awards ceremony of 2019 is coming up on Friday, April 26, and seven top Philly chefs are busy getting ready to cook the evening’s dinner, which will be served to 550 discerning eaters — many of them restaurant critics.

The awards in this round go to food-centric journalism, books, and broadcast media, including cookbook authors and TV shows. The chef and restaurant awards will be given out on Monday, May 6, in Chicago (here are the Philly chefs, restaurants, and restaurateurs in the running).

For the James Beard Media Awards on Friday, the venue is Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City. But since tourism board Visit Philly is sponsoring it, it’s all Philly chefs in the lineup. They all have a James Beard Awards connection, whether they’ve been nominated themselves or work for a nominated restaurant or restaurateur.

The chefs cooking the feast are Ange Branca of Malaysian BYOB Saté Kampar, Diana Widjojo and Maylia Widjojo of Indonesian eatery Hardena, Andrew Farley of all-day restaurants High Street on Market and High Street on Hudson, Tova du Plessis of Jewish bakery Essen, Kate Jacoby of vegan standout Vedge, and Robert Toland of Urban Outfitter’s Terrain. They also get to meet Tyra Banks, who is hosting the ceremony.

woman in chef’s apron holding skewers
Ange Branca of Saté Kampar
Rob Rabena/Courtesy of Visit Philly

Prep for Branca, who is handling the first course, started earlier this week. She’s working on a Malaysian sampler with saté, achat (picked veggies), and otak-otak, a fish souffle with mackerel from Local 130 out of New Jersey.

When those plates are cleared, the Widjojo sisters plan to start serving udang balado: jumbo shrimp with a sweet and savory red pepper sauce, coconut milk rice, and a coconut and veggie salad. Vegetarians can dig into an eggplant version of the dish.

Diana Widjojo of Hardena
Rob Rabena/Courtesy of Visit Philly

For the entree, Farley of High Street, from 2019 James Beard Awards nominated restaurateur Ellen Yin, will step in with lamb riblets with pickles, horseradish, and mustard and pretzel bread.

The desserts, which include black and white cookies, are coming from the three pastry experts, Jacoby, du Plessis, and Toland.

The Media Awards dinner is sold out, but those who have $350 to spend on a ticket can add their names to the wait list.

Essen Bakery

1437 East Passyunk Avenue, , PA 19147 (215) 271-2299 Visit Website

High Street on Market

308 Market Street, , PA 19106 (215) 625-0988 Visit Website


1221 Locust Street, , PA 19107 (215) 320-7500 Visit Website


1754 South Hicks Street, , PA 19145 (215) 271-9442 Visit Website

Terrain at Styer's

914 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills, PA 19342 (610) 459-2400 Visit Website

Saté Kampar

1837 East Passyunk Avenue, , PA 19148 (267) 324-3860 Visit Website