Metro Weekly

Trixie Mattel and Tom Sietsma among the LGBTQ James Beard nominees

Documentary about gay chef Jeremiah Tower also among the nominees.

Trixie Mattel

It may seem improbable, but yes, the effervescent and hilarious drag queen Trixie Mattel is a contender for a coveted James Beard Award. Established in 1990, the awards “recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields.”

Mattel, who will appear at the Warner Theatre next Thursday as part of the Hater’s Roast, was nominated in the “Humor” category for her video with GQ Magazine, “Trixie Mattel Makes a PB&J (and More Importantly, a Cocktail).”

Mattel is one of several LGBTQ contenders nominated for their contributions to the culinary world. They include Top Chef alumni Tiffani Faison, of the Boston-based restaurants Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, and Fool’s Errand, and Karen Akunowicz, of Boston’s Myers + Chang restaurant, both nominated as Best Chef in the Northeast.

Other LGBTQ nominees are Outstanding Chef nominee Gabrielle Hamilton, of the New York restaurant Prune, Best New York City Chef nominee Jody Williams, of Buvette Gastrothèque, and Best Western Chef nominee Dominique Crenn, of the San Francisco-based Atelier Crenn.

Several chefs — not necessarily of the LGBTQ-persuasion — brought home nominations for the D.C. area: Amy Brandwein of Centrolina, Tom Cunanan of Bad Saint and Jeremiah Langhorne of The Dabney were all nominated for Best Chef of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Kevin Tien of Himitsu was nominated as Rising Star Chef of the Year.

 Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema was nominated for Feature Reporting for his article “Dishwashers,” while Maura Judkis was nominated in the humor category for her article “Pumpkin Spice Life.” Post contributors Tim Carman, Fritz Hahn and Shelly Tan for their article “America’s Most Authentic Dive Bars,” and Pati Jinich, of WETA Washington, was nominated for Oustanding Personality/Host.

The film Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent was nominated under the best food documentary category. Tower, who is gay, was the mercurial chef who helped transform Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse and later opened L.A.’s legendary Stars. 

The founder of World Central Kitchen, D.C.’s own José Andrés, is being honored with the 2018 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year for his work using food as a means to help poverty-stricken countries, including the hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Winners will be announced in two separate ceremonies. The Media Awards — honoring food journalists, cookbook authors, and broadcast and film — will be presented on Friday, April 27, 2018, at Chelsea Piers in New York City, while the remaining awards will be handed out on Monday, May 7 in Chicago at the Lyric Opera.

For ticket pricing and availability, visit or call 914-231-6180. 

For a full list of all categories and nominees, click here.

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