The James Beard Awards (at least the big chef and restaurant awards) are on Monday, May 7 in New York, and though we've been wrong before, our money is on Daniel Patterson, executive chef of Coi and owner of Plum and Haven in Oakland, to take home the Best Chef: Pacific prize this year. Here's why...
• Many in the industry have felt like this is "his year," having been short-listed for the prize a number of times now, and it kind of works like the Oscars that way. (Fellow Bay Area colleagues Michael Tusk and David Kinch have taken it the past two years.)
• He's the only one of the five nominees (which this year include Michael Chiarello, Meadowood's Christopher Kostow, Incanto's Chris Cosentino, and Matt Molina of Osteria Mozza in L.A.) who's featured in Modernist Cuisine for a couple of his innovations at Coi.
• He's the only one of the five nominees whose restaurant is featured on the San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list, and who regularly participates in high-profile industry events in Europe.
• He recently signed a book deal with fancy Phaidon Press, who also published books from Rene Redzepi and Ferran Adria.
• John Mariani in Esquire agrees with us (though he does conceded Chiarello, with more food-TV recognition and the eldest of the nominees, could also be a contender).
• Patterson's is the most recognizable, bankable name of the bunch when it comes to the food cognoscenti he may not be the most recognizable face (that would be Chiarello), but he's the most respected in terms of his creative and intellectual contributions to the food community, though editorials and other pieces he writes for the New York Times, and the occasional freelance travel piece for Food & Wine featuring sloths. Basically, when it comes to the kind of people who vote for these awards, he's a shoo-in.
Related: Daniel Patterson’s Coi Cookbook Will Not Have Ghostwriter
Watch Daniel Patterson Create His Signature Beet Rose Dish
Daniel Patterson Cradles a Sloth, Almost Dies From Eating a Water Lily Out of the Amazon