The James Beard Foundation, which every year gives out prestigious restaurant awards often called the Oscars of the food world, is postponing several events scheduled for March, April, and May, including the main awards gala originally slated to take place in Chicago. The finalists announcement event, originally scheduled for the Barnes museum in Philadelphia on March 25, is also postponed.
In an official statement on March 16, the James Beard Foundation writes that it “continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and given the environment, the organization and its partners at Visit Philadelphia have decided to postpone the James Beard Awards Nominee Announcement.”
New dates have not been chosen yet.
In the initial announcement regarding the awards postponement on March 12, the James Beard Foundation cited “health and safety concerns surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic”:
As such, our organization has taken the guidance of the CDC, the counsel of our legal advisors and our Board of Trustees, and has worked closely with our partners to make the decision to postpone the annual James Beard Awards to summer 2020.
The postponement includes the James Beard Media Awards (originally scheduled for Friday, April 24, in New York City), the Leadership Awards (Sunday, May 3, in Chicago), and the Restaurant & Chef Awards (Monday, May 4, in Chicago). As of now, the nominee announcement will be made on March 25 from Philadelphia as scheduled.
As noted above, the awards are being moved to the summer.
Several Philly restaurants and chefs, including Marc Vetri, Cristina Martinez, and Nok Suntaranon’s Kalaya, are on the 2020 semi-finalists list, announced last month. The full list is here.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards.