On Monday, the 2012 James Beard finalists were announced, leaving Michael's Genuine Food & Drink pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith the last hope of Miami taking home a coveted Beard award this year. Her boss, Michael's chef/owner Michael Schwartz, received the Beard award for Best Chef South in 2010.
Goldsmith spoke with Short Order about what it felt like when she heard about being a finalist, what it means for the future, and just when is that cookbook coming out anyway?
New Times: When did you find out you were named one of the finalists for the 2012 James Beard Award for outstanding pastry chef?
Hedy Goldsmith: I found out around 3:30 on Monday that I'm a finalist, and I'm still reeling from it. I'm a little bit numb. It hasn't really sunk in. I'm incredibly honored and thrilled to be on a list of incredibly talented women.
What makes this award so special is that Outstanding Pastry Chef is a national award. The nominees
are these wonderful women who represent every part of the United States --
Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, San Francisco. It's really exciting because it's
all about your peers. It's all about how you're perceived in this
industry. And that makes it even sweeter.
Is Michael Schwartz in town? Has he congratulated you?
Oh, of course. Michael and I just crossed paths, so I'm in Miami and he's out of town, but I got the nicest email and the nicest text from him and
his wife. Aside from being the owner of this company, he's been a
friend -- a good friend for so many years. We have a relationship aside
from what we have as a working relationship. It's come full circle for him.
When he won, for me going that route with him and working so hard to get
to a certain point, and now him with me. It's wonderful. It's very
emotional. He's been so generous over the years, and it continues.
The awards ceremony will be held May 7 at Lincoln Center. Is it safe to say this is the Academy Awards of food?
That's what I tell my friends who are not as familiar with this award. They have a
red carpet and it's totally Academy Awards time.
So you're going?
Of course! I wouldn't miss it. I just have to figure out who to wear. I will be there to celebrate certainly if I win, and
to celebrate if any number of combinations win in any event. To be in a
room with people that you've admired for years and people that you
haven't met but admired from afar. Chefs are limited, in so many
ways, to our kitchens and our communities, but to get a national view is outstanding. There's some pretty exciting shoulder-rubbing and hobnobbing
to be had that evening.
Who are you looking forward to meeting that you haven't met before?
Naomi Pomeroy, who owns Beast in Portland. I would love to meet her.
But actually, there are so many amazing people that I would be just happy to stand
What would you do if you won?
If you win, you're forever honored with this incredible James Beard Award, which would probably make the perfect tattoo. I've wanted a tattoo for years and years, and if it ever happened that I won, it would be the perfect tattoo.
Are you telling us that you would get a James Beard tattoo if you won?
I just set myself up for that. No, but I'm going to sleep with James Beard for sure if that beautiful award comes my way.
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Let's talk for a moment about your cookbook. When will we get to see it?
It feels like years already. It's coming out October 2. I think all the planets were aligned this week. I had to send my second dummy back to the editor with all my final changes. And I got the galleys yesterday. I don't think about the book for a few weeks or a few months; then it's back.
How did you feel when you held the galley in your hand?
It's incredibly exciting. I'm such a visual person. And the galleys are black-and-white, so for a moment I was taken aback, because my book is going to be all about vivid color. There was a gamut of emotions that ran through me. It's been a really good experience, and if I'm fortunate enough to be able to do another cookbook, I will have tremendous knowledge. And Michael has been so helpful since he's been through all this before with his book.
And the most important question: Are you planning any special menu items to celebrate?
Celebratory for being on the list or celebratory if I win? It's thrilling to be nominated, but I don't want to be too presumptuous. But I'll do something for brunch. Something that's more fun and less serious -- to make it lively. Maybe take an item from the James Beard playbook and have some fun with it.