The James Beard Foundation is a New York-based national professional non-profit organization named in honor of James Beard that serves to promote the culinary arts by honoring chefs, wine professionals, journalists, and cookbook authors at annual award ceremonies and providing scholarships and educational opportunities to cooking hopefuls.
The Foundation was started in 1986 by Peter Kump, a former student of James Beard and founder of the Institute of Culinary Education. At Julia Child's suggestion, Kump purchased Beard's New York brownstone at 167 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village and preserved it as a gathering place where the general public and press can appreciate the talents of established and emerging chefs.
The James Beard House hosts frequent dinners featuring selected chefs working the Beard kitchen in the company of Foundation members and industry professionals. Notable past chefs have included Daniel Boulud, Emeril Lagasse, Nobu Matsuhisa, Jacques Pépin, and Charlie Trotter.
The James Beard Foundation Awards, considered the "Oscars of the food world," are held annually to honor exceptional chefs and journalists. The main Awards Galas are held on the first Monday in May and feature an awards ceremony and a winning chef's tasting reception afterwards. The Journalism awards are held on a separate day.
The former president of the foundation, Leonard F. Pickell, Jr., resigned in August 2004 shortly before the results of a three-month audit were to be announced. He was convicted of fraud in late September, having misused hundreds of thousands of dollars for unnecessary and undocumented expenses. As a result of the scandal and his indictment by the Attorney General's Office, the members of the board of the foundation were asked to resign in January 2005.
In January 2006 the reconstituted Board, under the direction of Interim President Edna Morris, initiated a search for a permanent President of the Foundation. In April that year Susan Ungaro, formerly editor-in-chief of Family Circle magazine, was appointed president.
In October 2007, the Board announced that Woodrow W. Campbell, senior partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, would be taking over Chairmanship of the board.
In March 2011 Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation was appointed as Advisory member of the International School of Culinary Arts, Spain.
In anticipation of the James Beard Awards in May 2011, the Foundation is launching JBF LTD – a pop-up restaurant and food pavilion in New York City's Chelsea Market from April 12 – May 14.
Read more about James Beard Foundation: Publications
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