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The James Beard 2017 Book Award Winners

May 17, 2017

As I have said before, the influential James Beard Foundation awards are a bit confusing. Basically, the famous U.S. organization has umbrella categories for its annual cooking-related awards, including restaurants, broadcast media, journalism, and book awards (which includes cookbooks and books about chefs, cooking techniques, and food history).

This post is about the 2017 book awards.

Why should we care?

Because restaurateurs like Naomi Pomeroy (from Portland, Oregon) are 2017 “influencers” and will have a lot to say – and do – about food and cooking and the direction of recipes, in the coming year or so. People like Chef Pomeroy will ultimately help decide if cauliflower pizzas are still in, or if avocado-on-toast is on its way out (please, please). At least, that’s my humble-pie take on it.

*The James Beard Foundation Media Awards were announced at an awards ceremony at Chelsea Piers in New York City, April 25, 2017. The awards gala took place in Chicago, May 1, 2017.  Also, see these related posts:  The 2017 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award Winners + 2017 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award Winners.

Here are the two award-winning books I’m most interested in reading

Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking, by Naomi Pomeroy with Jamie Feldmar, Photography by Chris Court (Ten Speed Press). *Winner, Photography.

Amazon.com says: “Restaurateur Naomi Pomeroy “won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Pacific Northwest in 2014, was named a Best New Chef 
in Food & Wine in 2009, and has been featured in Bon Appétit, Elle, and O magazine, along with appearances on Top Chef Masters and Knife Fight. After launching Family Supper, clarklewis, and Gotham Tavern, she opened Beast in 2007 and her bar, Expatriate, in 2013. She lives in Portland, Oregon.”

Publisher’s Weekly says: “Pomeroy, owner of the Pacific Northwest eatery Beast and acclaimed James Beard award–winning restaurateur, has assembled carefully choreographed “master lessons” that translate her “experiences in a way that helps others learn to cook” and highlight cooking techniques. In a skill-building, cumulative journey, 140 recipes showcase basic culinary skills and high-end dishes that are neither intimidating nor difficult to prepare.”

Classic Koffmann: 50 Years a Chef, by Pierre Koffmann (Jacqui Small). *Winner, Cooking from a Professional Point of View.

classic koffmann

Amazon.com says: “There’s no doubt that it’s Pierre Koffmann, the three Michelin-starred chef, who is the granddaddy of French cuisine in Britain. Now celebrating 50 years in the business, the self-effacing Pierre has been coaxed out of the kitchen just long enough to write this superlative collection of his classic recipes… it’s no surprise that many of his protégés… have declared themselves ‘honored’ to contribute to this epoch-making book.”

Greatbritishchefs.com says: “While his name might not be as recognizable as some of today’s TV chefs, in restaurant kitchens up and down the UK Pierre Koffmann is seen as the true godfather of modern day cooking. Initially working at Le Gavroche before moving to The Waterside Inn and then opening his own three-starred restaurant La Tante Claire in 1977, he was responsible for training the likes of Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Eric Chavot, Marcus Wareing and Tom Kitchin.”

See here for a 2016 Great British Chefs video interview with Chef Pierre Koffmann.

pierre koffmann

The 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award Winners

*For books published in English in 2016.

American Cooking

Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes 
Ronni Lundy (Clarkson Potter)

Baking and Dessert

Dorie’s Cookies
Dorie Greenspan (Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)


Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki
Martin Cate with Rebecca Cate (Ten Speed Press)

Cooking from a Professional Point of View

Classic Koffmann: 50 Years a Chef 
Pierre Koffmann (Jacqui Small)

General Cooking

Eat in My Kitchen: To Cook, to Bake, to Eat, and to Treat 
Meike Peters (Prestel)


You Have It Made: Delicious, Healthy, Do-Ahead Meals 
Ellie Krieger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)


Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan 
Naomi Duguid (Artisan)


A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression 
Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe (Harper)

*Here’s a link to an amazon.com preview.


Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking, by Naomi Pomeroy with Jamie Feldmar, Photography by Chris Court (Ten Speed Press). Here’s a link to an amazon.com preview.

Reference and Scholarship

The Oxford Companion to Cheese 
Catherine Donnelly (Oxford University Press)

Single Subject

Milk. Made.: A Book About Cheese. How to Choose It, Serve It and Eat It 
Nick Haddow (Hardie Grant)

Vegetable Cooking

The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook 
Salma Hage (Phaidon Press)

*Who was James Beard? From The James Beard Foundation: “A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine… Known as the Oscars of the food world, the James Beard Awards cover all aspects of the industry: chefs and restaurateurs, cookbook authors and food journalists, restaurant designers and architects, and more. The James Beard Awards are the highest honor for food and beverage professionals in America.”  For a complete list of this year’s winners, click here.

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