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James Beard House Celebrates Thai New Year with Thai Chefs

James Beard House Celebrates Thai New Year with Thai Chefs

Three celebrated Thai chefs gathered to prepare a special dinner for the Thai New Year

The James Beard House and LuckyRice hosted three of the best known Thai chefs in America for the Songkran celebration.

On Friday, April 11th, the James Beard House welcomed a team of Thai chefs to create a collaborative menu fit for Songkran, the Thai New Year, which is celebrated from April 13th to 15th.

The Beard Foundation hosted Jet Tila, a Los-Angeles based restaurateur who has appeared on Iron Chef America and Cutthroat Kitchen, Hong Thaimee of Ngam, whose work has included cooking for the Thai royal family, and Pichet Ong of Coppelia, who served for several years as the celebrated pastry chef for Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

The festive dinner was hosted in collaboration with LuckyRice, which hosts Asian food festivals in major cities throughout the year. The upcoming LuckyRice Feast in New York on May 2nd will commemorate the fifth year of the festival.

The chefs each chose a small team to accompany them, and prepared several courses inspired by Thai classics from their childhoods.

Dishes included Tom Kha Goong (coconut soup with mushrooms and chili paste), Khao Soi (braised beef curry with turmeric noodles), and coconut custard pie with kaffir lime cream among others.

Although Songkran combines both Buddhist and Thai traditions and begins with family members blessing one another with water, the holiday is not associated with any particular symbolic dishes.

In Thailand around the world, Songkran is often celebrated with water gun battles in the streets. “Because Thai New Year coincides with the hottest time of the year in Thailand, it turned into a festival that centers around a giant water fight,” said Jet Tila.

Happy Thai New Year from @pichetong's Hawaiian shirt

— Karen Lo (@appleplexy) April 11, 2014

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.

Asian and Asian-American recipes to try during the holidays

For this holiday season, NBC Asian America rounded up some recipes and holiday favorites from chefs and food lovers around the country that you can make from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Follow NBC Asian America on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad, owner and chef of Jeepney and Maharlika in New York City

“Bulalo is well-known in the town regions of Batangas and Tagaytay where beef is prevalent,” Ponseca said of the bone marrow soup. “It’s so important because it highlights one of the main cooking techniques in the Philippines, which is “nilaga,” and so from this dish with beef, bone marrow, cabbage, potatoes and corn, it can transform into the actual dish called nilaga.” She said it turns into “pochero” and if sourness is added to it—it can transform into “cansi.”

“If you can master this, you can master any other Filipino dishes,” Ponseca said.

Bulalo (bone marrow soup) recipe

Excerpted from I Am a Filipino by Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Justin Walker.


  • 5 pounds (2.3 kg) beef shanks, preferably grass-fed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (70 g) whole black peppercorns
  • ½ cup (75 g) whole garlic cloves (about 10), smashed with the side of a knife
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (280 g) coarsely chopped peeled potatoes
  • ¼ pound (115 g) napa cabbage, thickly sliced
  • 1 ear fresh corn, cut crosswise into 1-inch-long (2.5 cm) pieces
  • Fish sauce
  • Sawsawan for serving

In a large stockpot, bring 1 gallon (4 L) water to a boil. Season the beef shanks liberally with salt and pepper. Add them to the boiling water and let the water come back to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water simmers. Skim off any impurities from the top.

Add the peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, and onions and cook the beef shanks for 2½ to 3½ hours, until the marrow is tender. Keep an eye on the pot: Add water as needed to keep the ingredients just covered.

Add the scallions, potatoes, cabbage, and corn and cook for 10 minutes more, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Taste and season with fish sauce.

Serve in deep bowls with sawsawan alongside, making sure each serving has some beef, onions, potato, cabbage, and corn.When you add corn and cabbage to the soup, as we do, bulalo is sometimes called nilaga, which is also the Tagalog term for “boiled.” Some people also add bananas or plantains. Another common variation is kansi, a blend of bulalo and sinigang soured with a tart Filipino fruit called batwan.

Filipino food is always served with condiments within easy reach, even at a street vendor where you stand and eat. These condiments let diners customize the flavor of the meal in the form of a self-mixed dipping sauce, which is generally known as sawsawan. The most common of these are vinegars (plain, and sometimes those flavored with chile and garlic or herbs, like the pinakurat recipe that follows) fish sauce (patis) soy sauce a bowl of limes, lemons, or the native calamansi fruit, cut and squeezed to order and whole fresh hot and mild chiles. Occasionally, you’ll find chopped tomatoes, sliced onions, and bagoong, too.Diners get individual bowls and use their spoons or forks to mash chiles with vinegar as they see fit, or stir together patis and calamansi, or make whatever sawsawan they prefer. No Filipino dish is seasoned perfectly until it is on the table in front of you and you add the salt, sour, heat, and even umami flavors that make it perfect to you.

Pinakurat (spiced vinegar)

You can store this all-purpose sweet-and-spicy vinegar in clean mason jars, but it is easier to keep it in repurposed glass bottles. Note that this recipe can be adjusted as you like—try using different chiles or other spices like bay leaf. Makes 3 cups (720 ML)


  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup (35 g) dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries, or mangos (optional)
  • 5 whole bird’s-eye chiles
  • 1 (3-inch/7.5 cm) knob fresh ginger, scrubbed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 to 4 cups (720 ml to 1 L) white sugarcane vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fish sauce

Put the garlic, dried fruit, chiles, ginger, and peppercorns in a clean glass jar or bottle and cover with the vinegar and fish sauce. Loosely cover or cap the jar and let sit at room temperature in a dark place for 48 hours.

Transfer the jar to the refrigerator. The pinakurat will keep indefinitely, and the flavors will continue to develop over time.

Add These 2020 James Beard Award-Winning Books to Your Shelf

This year’s winners included Jubilee by Toni Tipton-Martin, The Whole Fish Cookbook by Josh Niland, and more.

If you’re looking for new books to read and cook from, these James Beard Award winners are a great place to start.

Earlier this week, the James Beard Foundation announced the winners of the 2020 Media Awards, which recognize the best in books, broadcast media, and journalism. The book award categories span from baking and desserts to photography—they’re not just limited to cookbooks, either, and also highlight other non-fiction food- or beverage-related books. There’s The World Atlas of Wine 8th Edition by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, if you’re looking to brush up on your wine knowledge, and Jeffrey Larsen’s Gluten-Free Baking at Home, which offers recipes for over 100 baked goods. Plus, The Whole Fish Cookbook from Josh Niland, which snagged not one, but two awards this year.

We’ve gathered all 13 awarded books, organized by their respective award category, in case you want to add them to your collection. Read on for the list and start making room on your shelf.

Best Chef: California

Genet Agonafer, Meals by Genet, Los Angeles

Kim Alter, Nightbird, San Francisco

Val M. Cantu, Californios, San Francisco

Rocío Camacho, La Diosa de los Moles, Paramount, CA

Gabriela Cámara, Cala, San Francisco

Josef Centeno, Orsa & Winston, Los Angeles

Jeremy Fox, Birdie G’s, Santa Monica, CA

Brandon Go, Hayato, Los Angeles

Brandon Jew, Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco

Mourad Lahlou, Mourad, San Francisco

Mei Lin, Nightshade, Los Angeles

Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, Bavel, Los Angeles

Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles

Brandon Rodgers and Ian Scaramuzza, In Situ, San Francisco

Carlos Salgado, Taco María, Costa Mesa, CA

Joshua Skenes, Angler, San Francisco

James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA

Karen Taylor Waikiki, El Molino Central, Boyes Hot Springs, CA

Pim Techamuanvivit, Kin Khao, San Francisco

Kalaya Thai Market makes chef Nok Suntaranon’s intricate blends accessible to home cooks

“You can take the girl out of the market, but you can’t take the market out of the girl — and that’s me!” says Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, the chef and owner of Kalaya.

Growing up in Trang province, she’d help blend the curry and shrimp pastes that her mother, Kalaya, would sell in their village market: “Now 40 years later, I’m doing the same thing, but in South Philly, not Southern Thailand.”

That’s why the launch of a retail space near her celebrated Thai BYOB in the Italian Market is such a thrill.

Kalaya’s handmade curries, a rarity in the United States where such intricate blends are commonly premade, have been key to Nok’s high-voltage cuisine, earning her 2019 Chef of the Year kudos, a three bell review, and a finalist nod from the James Beard Foundation.

Now you can buy tubs of red curry radiating the fire of dried chilies, turmeric root, and fresh galangal, or the green curry of coriander, basil, fresh chilies, and turmeric leaves, which also comes bundled into a meal kit for four (just add protein). The staff is ready with recipes and advice for this small market’s pantry of hard-to-find provisions, from fresh lime leaves and Asian citrus to spice rubs, butterfly pea flowers (to turn your dumplings blue), and tai pla, the fermented fish innard sauce Nok says is “the gold” behind her food’s magnetic funk. Grab a bag of coveted Thasiam instant boat noodles for an easy lunch.

There’s also a daily menu of prepared foods, from crab dumplings to soups, entrees, Northern Thai lemongrass sausage, and Moo Dad Diew pork jerky that bring Nok’s vivid restaurant flavors to a more accessible, moderately priced venue.

“I walked in the other day and realized: I’ve become my mother!'” she says. “And that’s not a bad thing at all.”

New Orleans James Beard Award-Winning Restaurants

The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit culinary arts organization that honors food leaders in America, provides education and mentorship to professional chefs, and promotes the value of a diverse industry and healthy food.

Every year, the James Beard Foundation awards restaurants, bars, and chefs across the country with the honor of a James Beard Award. New Orleans, being the food and drink city it is, is no stranger to these awards - in fact, restaurants across the city have taken home this prestigious title many times.

Below find a list of restaurants and bars that have received a James Beard Award.

Map Results

Sign up for special tips, offers, and info about all the latest happenings around NOLA with our monthly Insider&rsquos Guide, delivered right to your inbox.

The Chefs Leading Puerto Rico's Culinary Renaissance

San Juan&rsquos chefs are leading a culinary renaissance on the island&mdashand they&rsquore lifting their community with them.

There&aposs a phrase you’ll hear often in Puerto Rico: buen provecho. It’s the local way of saying 𠇎njoy your meal,” but the two words literally translate to “good advantage.” And it’s a phrase that captures the determined optimism and creative energy taking hold on the island today.

It’s been a long time coming. On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, leaving it in shambles. The storm, the worst in 85 years, raked the island with 155-mile-per-hour winds, causing more than $100 billion worth of damage and taking 2,975 lives. Eighty percent of the island’s crop value vanished, and tens of thousands of residents fared without electricity or staple foods for the better part of a year. After the storm, nearly 4 percent of the population left the island for good.

But many, many more stayed. Among them was a cadre of committed chefs who set out to rebuild what was destroyed and to create something new from what remained𠅋uilding up the island’s advantages through their creativity, activism, and cooking. This spring, I set out to meet them.

Natalia Rivera Vázquez, 35, is the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel’s executive sous chef, cooking at the acclaimed 1919 Restaurant alongside the executive chef Juan José Cuevas. I met with her in the hotel’s rose-colored marble lobby during one of her rare moments of downtime: Vázquez also owns El Jangiri, a poke-bowl spot in the popular San Juan “gastro-park” Lote 23, and, in partnership with Vanderbilt pastry chef Nasha Fondeur, runs the dessert caterer La Postrer໚ (one recent gig: the opening gala for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Puerto Rico Hamilton run).

A year and a half ago, she told me, the same lobby we were standing in was packed with hundreds of relief workers, all of whom Vázquez and her team were scrambling to feed. “It was heartbreaking,” she said. “Suddenly, our mentality became about finding food𠅊ny food𠅊nd feeding the people who were working 24 hours a day to help us get back onto our feet.”

Today, Vázquez continues to focus on recovery, particularly the island’s agriculture. Before the hurricane, El Jangiri was an island leader for local sourcing, getting 80 percent of ingredients from Puerto Rican producers—on an island that imports 85 percent of its food. In the wake of the storm, which devastated Puerto Rico’s farms, Vázquez’s team has doubled down on those efforts, developing a network of over 30 chefs every time she meets with a local farmer, she texts the network price comparisons with imported products. �use of our buying power, hotels are in a position to have a real impact here,” she says.

Natalia Rivera Vázquez

“It showed me that one day you can have everything, and the next day you can have nothing,” says Vázquez of Hurricane Maria. The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel and El Jangiri chef is spearheading a movement to support local farms, which were devastated by the storm.

Later that day, as I wandered among the stalls in Lote 23, Mario Juan Pagán, 31, poked his head out of the window of an antique silver Airstream, home to Pagán’s Perniler໚ Los Prres (aka PLP). Inside its metal walls, the chef channels his experience in world-class restaurants like New York’s Momofuku and San Sebastian’s Akelarre into sandwiches like the Revolución es Orden (nine-hour slow-roasted pork shoulder piled with carrot, radish, plantain chips, cilantro, and spicy mayo, served on a fluffy white roll). As I walked up, a long line of sandwich pilgrims was snaking out from the trailer.

“We were shut down for two weeks. Then, even with generators, the power was constantly going in and out,” Pagán says. “Nobody wanted to leave their homes. The traffic lights were dead. There were car accidents everywhere.” But as soon as they were able, Pagán and his fellow vendors started cooking, sending their food out to more remote areas on the island.

Mario Juan Pagán

Pagán serves wildly creative sandwiches from an Airstream parked at San Juan’s Lote 23 gastro-park. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Pagán teamed up with fellow park vendors to cook and send food to those in need.

At her restaurant Gallo Negro in the artsy neighborhood of Santurce, I meet Mar໚ Mercedes Grubb, 39, a San Juan native whose childhood memories include sitting on the balcony, shelling gandules (pigeon peas), from which her mother would coax profound flavors. A love of Puerto Rican cuisine stayed with Grubb through a decade in New York City cooking in some of the city’s most celebrated kitchens (including The Modern and Maialino). And it is on full display at Gallo Negro, which marries global flavors and precise technique with island flavors and a sense of fun. One night, the menu might include “pork and beans,” a brined and seared pork chop paired with gandules, alubias, and pinto beans another night, rich spaghetti bolognese (𠇋oloyes”), bolstered with Puerto Rican longaniza sausage. (This spring, the James Beard Foundation included Grubb among the semifinalists for Best Chef: South).

Hurricane Maria left Grubb without power for months, an overwhelming cleanup, and barely any staff (many had fled to the mainland). But she knew others had been hit harder. “We knew there was going to be an immediate ripple effect of people losing jobs,” she says. That knowledge was the impetus for Serve PR, a nonprofit she cofounded. “The point was to raise money for that dishwasher who couldn’t work for months,” Grubb says, “or the restaurant that was about to close because they couldn’t pay rent.”

Portland chefs dominate James Beard Award finalists for Best Chef Northwest

, Portland chefs are dominating the competition for Best Chef Northwest honors, taking three of the five finalist slots that were announced Monday in New York City.

are contenders in the category, along with two Seattle chefs, Ethan Stowell of

Whims was nominated for Best Chef Northwest last year, and her Italian kitchen Nostrana, known for its wood-fired ovens and pasta dishes, is the most-mainstream of the Portland nominees. This is a first nomination for Pomeroy and Ricker, though both of their restaurants have received a lot of national attention in the last year. Pomeroy, whose restaurant has a meat-centric menu and a set nightly menu, was named one of Food & Wine magazine's

last spring. Ricker, whose Thai restaurant celebrates Southeast Asian street food, got a

in last June's Food & Wine, and made

making a green papaya salad that was so spicy it had co-host Al Roker gasping for water.

Beast, Nostrana and Pok Pok all are former

in the The Oregonian's annual Diner section.

The Best Chef Northwest category traditionally has been dominated by Seattle chefs, with no more than two Portland chefs earning nominations in the same year until now. Past Portland winners are Vitaly Paley of Paley's Place, Philippe Boulot of The Heathman, Greg Higgins of Higgins Restaurant, and Cory Schreiber, formerly of Wildwood Restaurant. The Best Chef Northwest category covers restaurants in Oregon and Washington as well as Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

In addition, another Portland chef received James Beard honors Monday. Gabriel Rucker of

is one of five nominees nationwide for the Rising Star Chef of the Year Award, given to a chef 30 or younger who, according to the Beard Foundation, "displays an impressive talent and is likely to have significant impact on the industry in years to come." Rucker, 29, has been nominated in this category three years in a row. Le Pigeon also has received Restaurant of the Year honors from The Oregonian.

Winners for the annual chef and restaurant awards will be announced May 3 at a gala event at New York's Avery Fisher Hall.

2020 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Best New Restaurant

A restaurant opened in the prior calendar year that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

  • Automatic Seafood & Oysters, Birmingham, AL
  • Demi, Minneapolis
  • Eem, Portland, OR
  • Fox & the Knife, Boston
  • Gado Gado, Portland, OR
  • Gianna, New Orleans
  • Kalaya, Philadelphia
  • Nightshade, Los Angeles
  • Pasjoli, Santa Monica, CA
  • Verjus, San Francisco

Outstanding Baker

A pastry chef or baker who demonstrates exceptional skill, integrity, and character in the preparation of desserts, pastries, or breads served in a retail bakery. Eligible candidates must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years

  • Graison Gill, Bellegarde Bakery, New Orleans
  • Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, NYC
  • Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery, Cambridge, MA
  • Lisa Ludwinski, Sister Pie, Detroit
  • Avery Ruzicka, Manresa Bread, Los Gatos, CA

Outstanding Bar Program

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the selection, preparation, and serving of cocktails, spirits, and/or beer.

  • Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
  • Expatriate, Portland, OR
  • Kimball House, Decatur, GA
  • Lost Lake, Chicago
  • Trick Dog, San Francisco

Outstanding Chef

A chef who sets high culinary standards and who has served as a positive example for other food professionals. Eligible candidates must have been working as a chef for the past five years.

  • David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
  • Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
  • Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans
  • Missy Robbins, Lilia, NYC
  • Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
  • Marc Vetri, Vetri Cucina, Philadelphia

Outstanding Hospitality

A restaurant in operation for five or more years that demonstrates consistency and exceptional thoughtfulness in hospitality and service.

  • Brigtsen&aposs, New Orleans
  • Canlis, Seattle
  • Saison, San Francisco
  • Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco
  • Zingerman&aposs Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI

Outstanding Pastry Chef

A pastry chef or baker who demonstrates exceptional skill, integrity, and character in the preparation of desserts, pastries, or breads served in a restaurant. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

  • Lincoln Carson, Bon Temps, Los Angeles
  • Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
  • Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles
  • Diane Moua, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
  • Natasha Pickowicz, Flora Bar, NYC
  • Miro Uskokovic, Gramercy Tavern, NYC

Outstanding Restaurant

A restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, service, and operations. Eligible candidates must have been in business 10 or more consecutive years

  • FIG, Charleston, SC
  • Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO
  • Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
  • Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix
  • Quince, San Francisco

Outstanding Restaurateur

A restaurateur who demonstrates creativity in entrepreneurship and integrity in restaurant operations. Eligible candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years and they must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

  • Paul Bartolotta, The Bartolotta Restaurants, Milwaukee (Ristorante Bartolotta, Harbor House, Lake Park Bistro, and others)
  • Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer, JK Food Group, Boston (Little Donkey, Toro, Coppa)
  • JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline Restaurant, New Orleans
  • Alex Raij and Eder Montero, NYC (La Vara, Saint Julivert Fisherie, Txikito)
  • Jason Wang, Xi&aposan Famous Foods, NYC

Outstanding Wine Program

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in wine service through a carefully considered wine list and a well-informed approach to helping customers choose and drink wine.

  • Bacchanal, New Orleans
  • Canard, Portland, OR
  • Miller Union, Atlanta
  • Night + Market Sahm, Venice, CA
  • Spiaggia, Chicago

Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer

A beer, wine, or spirits producer who demonstrates consistency and exceptional skill in his or her craft

  • Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall, High Wire Distilling Co., Charleston, SC
  • Cathy Corison, Corison Winery, St. Helena, CA
  • Drew Kulsveen, Willett Distillery, Bardstown, KY
  • Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold, Leopold Bros., Denver
  • Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA

Rising Star Chef of the Year

A chef age 30 or younger, born on or after January 1 in the year occurring thirty years prior to the award year in which such chef is to be considered for the award (e.g., January 1, 1976 for candidates to be considered in awards year 2006), who displays exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

  • Will Aghajanian and Liz Johnson, The Catbird Seat, Nashville
  • Irene Li, Mei Mei, Boston
  • Gaby Maeda, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
  • Ashleigh Shanti, Benne on Eagle, Asheville, NC
  • Paola Velez, Kith/Kin, Washington, D.C.
  • Jon Yao, Kato, Los Angeles

Watch the video: Exclusive NYC Dining at James Beard House. Secretly Awesome (September 2021).