The pinnacle of achievement in the culinary world. That’s what a James Beard Foundation award signifies. Deemed “the Oscars of the food world,” by Time magazine, The James Beard Foundation Awards are the country’s most coveted honor for chefs; food and beverage professionals; broadcast media, journalists, and authors working on food; and restaurant architects and designers.
Considered the “Dean of American Cookery,” Beard established a legacy of culinary excellence and became a household name to generations of home cooks and professional chefs. Today, the James Beard Foundation, a national not-for-profit organization is dedicated to celebrating, preserving, and nurturing America’s culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of our culinary excellence.
In January, 2010, Mary & Tito’s was announced as the 2010 recipient of the Foundation’s “America’s Classics Award,” a prestigious accolade honoring “a restaurant with timeless appeal, beloved in its region for quality food that reflects the character of its community. The establishment must have been in existence at least 10 years and be locally owned; preferably it is also informal and moderately priced.” Each year, only five America’s Classic Awards are bestowed.
So that honorees can make arrangements to attend, the America’s Classics Award is the only James Beard Award announced in advance. Mary and her daughter Antoinette, the heart and soul of Mary & Tito’s, will be traveling to the awards ceremony at New York City’s fabled Lincoln Center in March, 2010.
Mary & Tito’s has been earning devotees since 1963 with the best, most authentic New Mexican cuisine in the Land of Enchantment. It is the third restaurant in New Mexico to be honored with the America’s Classic Award, joining Santa Fe’s Cafe Pasqual (honored in 1999) and The Shed (honored in 2003) as honorees.
Congratulations, Mary and Antoinette and the terrific crew at Mary & Tito’s on a very well-deserved honor! You can read my full review of Mary & Tito’s here.
NOTE:The James Beard Foundation is no stranger to the Land of Enchantment and its incomparable cuisine. Aside from the three American Classics (Cafe Pasqual, The Shed and Mary & Tito’s) honored by the James Beard Foundation, other New Mexicans who have been accorded a prestigious James Beard Award are:
- Authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison who have earned four James Beard Awards (Best American Cookbook of the Year in 2000: American Home Cooking: Over 300 Spirited Recipes Celebrating Our Rich Tradition of Home Cooking; Award for Excellence in 1995 for Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue; Award for Excellence in 1996 for The Border Cookbook: Authentic Home Cooking of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico; and Award of Excellence in 2007 for The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining).
- Author Deborah Madison who earned an Award of Excellence in 1998 for Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone, an Award of Excellence in 2002 for Local Flavors, and a James Beard member of Who’s Who in American Food and Wine in 2005.
- Author Lois Ellen Frank who earned a James Beard Award in 2003 in the Americana Category for her cookbook, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations.