Mega-Congrats to EMP on Winning Two James Beard Awards: Best Pastry Chef and Outstanding Restaurant!

Last May, on the evening of the James Beard Awards, we booked a table for dinner in The Modern Dining Room. Just as we were about to leave, we received a phone call from our dear friend u.e. informing us that EMP’s Daniel Humm had been awarded Best Chef New York. We had our dinner at The Modern and then went to EMP for the celebration.

Fast forward to this year. On Monday, May 9th, the 2011 James Beard Awards took place as always at Lincoln Center. Knowing that EMP was a finalist in two categories, Outstanding Restaurant and Angela Pinkerton for Best Pastry Chef, we again made a reservation for dinner in The Modern Dining Room. In doing so, we hoped it would bring our EMP family good luck again — something akin to a baseball player wearing the same unwashed jersey during a hitting streak.

When our captain during the dinner, Louis, first greeted us, we asked if there was any news. He told us that The Modern’s Belinda Chang had won the award for Best Wine Service. Excellent!

Just as we were finishing what was a stunningly delicious meal (Click here to see the photos.), Maitre d’ Jason Hopple stopped by to say hello and gave us the news we’d been waiting for: EMP had won both awards! To celebrate the three accolades, he poured each a glass of Champagne on the house.

We left The Modern and cabbed down to EMP. There were still several tables of diners finishing their meals. But the bar area was already crowded with celebrants, and the disc jockey’s equipment was in the process of being set up.

Angela had come back from Lincoln Center, radiant in a lovely white gown and wearing her award medal. With hugs and kisses, we congratulated her, as well as all the staff members who were either still in uniform or in mufti.

Eleven Madison Park's Angela Pinkerton: James Beard Award 2011 for Best Pastry Chef
Pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton (second from right) proudly shows off her medal. EMP Sous Chef James Kent, who represented the USA at this year’s Bocuse d’Or, is on her right.

When G.M. Will Guidara, sporting the medal for Outstanding Restaurant, arrived together with Chef Daniel Humm and Wine Director John Regan, the crowd erupted in shouts and cheers of jubilation. More hugs, kisses, handshakes, and congrats all around. A little while later, Danny Meyer arrived to join the celebration.

Eleven Madison Park:  James Beard Award 2011 for Outstanding Restaurant
G.M. Will Guidara (center) jubilantly sporting the JBA medal

Drinks flowed, the revolving doors disgorged ever-increasing numbers of people into the restaurant, and the space eventually became packed.

James Beard Awards 2011 Celebration at Eleven Madison Park

The very attractive female disk jockey spun the first record.  The music and words of “We Are the Champions” boomed out.

Champions, indeed!


4 Responses to “Mega-Congrats to EMP on Winning Two James Beard Awards: Best Pastry Chef and Outstanding Restaurant!”

  1. Kate Says:

    I’m glad that you had such a wonderful celebration. But I have to say I was sad…they beat out my “EMP” Highlands Bar and Grill. I thought of you when they won though!

  2. uhockey Says:

    Very nice post. Hope all is well with yourself and Michael – and thanks for the blog link. 😉

  3. thewizardofroz Says:

    Hi Kate,

    To be honest, I’d not heard of Highlands Bar and Grill until this year’s JBA nominations. We’ve never been to Alabama, but if we ever get to Birmingham, we’ll be sure to check our your “EMP.” 🙂

  4. thewizardofroz Says:

    Hi uhockey,

    I’ve been wanting to get that link up for some time and with u.e.’s help when he stayed with us, I was finally able to accomlish it. My stats indicate that it has steered traffic to your blog. Your masterful reviews, along with your great photos, deserve a wide audience, so if I can help that to happen in even a small way, I’m pleased.

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