Miami's culinary community was glued to Twitter last evening while the James Beard Awards were streamed live on the social media platform from the gala reception at Chicago's Lyric Theater.
Brad Kilgore was a finalist in the Best Chef: South category, which honors toques from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Puerto Rico.
Kilgore, known for his gorgeous and intricate dishes at his Miami restaurants Alter and Brava by Brad Kilgore, was a semifinalist in the Rising Star Chef category in 2016 and 2017. That distinction is presented to a chef aged 30 or younger "who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come."
In the end, Nina Compton won the Beard for her lauded New Orleans restaurant, Compère Lapin.
Compton's culinary star rose while she competed on Top Chef New Orleans while she was chef de cuisine at Miami Beach's Scarpetta. Although she came in second, the chef won the coveted "fan favorite" award, sealing her upward trajectory.
A few months later, Compton announced she was trading the Magic City for the Big Easy to open Compère Lapin at the Old. No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in downtown New Orleans. Since its debut in spring 2016, the restaurant has gained a reputation as one of the finest in the Crescent City.
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The Miami Herald's Carlos Frias won a journalism Beard in the Local Impact category in a separate ceremony held in New York City.
Chef José Andrés, who owns the Bazaar by José Andrés and Bazaar Mar, was the recipient of the 2018 Humanitarian of the Year Award. A committed advocate of food and hunger issues, Andrés formed World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides smart solutions to hunger and poverty by using the power of food to empower communities and strengthen economies. Together with World Central Kitchen, Andrés served more than three million meals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island in 2017.
In a passionate speech, Andrés called for immigration reform for the people who feed America and make the nation great, as well as support for women in the industry. "We cannot escape the reality that our destiny is feeding the many," the venerable chef said.
For a complete list of James Beard Award winners, visit jamesbeard.org.