The Sweet Taste of Victory: Inclusion Won Big at This Year’s James Beard Awards

Maiysha Kai | The Root

It was a landmark year for inclusivity at the prestigious 2018 James Beard Awards—long considered the “Oscars of the food world”—which took place at the Lyric Opera in Chicago Monday night. This year’s nominees included 24 female chefs (out of 61 total nominations), making 2018 the biggest year for women in the event’s 28-year history, and the year with the second-largest number of nominees who were chefs of color.

Among the winners: Alabama’s Dolester Miles won Outstanding Pastry Chef for her work at Birmingham’s Highlands Bar & Grill, where she has been crafting sweetness for over 35 years; New Orleans chef Nina Compton won Best Chef: South for her stellar skills at Compère Lapin and cocktail bar Cure. Good, old-fashioned barbecue was a big winner, too: Chef Rodney Scott won Best Chef: Southeast for the incomparable flavors of his whole-hog barbecue at his eponymous restaurant in Hemingway, S.C.

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