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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

It’s a tie! Hopkins and Acheson both win Beards

photo-91In the biggest surprise of the evening, Georgia chefs Linton Hopkins and Hugh Acheson tied for Best Chef, Southeast, at the 2012 James Beard Awards Monday night at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. The two Georgians have gone up against each other for the past five years for this coveted award, only to lose to other nominees from the region. Hopkins won for his cooking at Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta, Acheson for Five & Ten in Athens, his first restaurant. (Acheson also owns Empire State South in Atlanta.)

Hopkins claims he predicted this unlikely outcome. “I called I’ll Have Another in the [Kentucky] Derby, and I woke up the other day and sid it’s going to be a tie.” He’s thrilled with the outcome because it underscores the camaraderie among chefs. “This is a collaborative business,” he said. “In a sense there should be more ties.”

For Acheson, it was his second James Beard Award this year. On Friday he was awarded a citation for his cookbook “A New Turn in the South” at the Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards dinner.

“It’s good that we’re getting these old guys off the ballot so we can new, young blood in there,” he said of the chef award. Once a chef wins a regional award, he or she then goes into consideration for the biggest honor of the evening, Outstanding Chef.

The award for Best Chef, South, went to Chris Hastings of the Hot & Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Hastings was up against a full roster of well known New Orleans chefs. “It was kinda like the Alabama-LSU game,” he joked.

Among other top awards: Next in Chicago was named Best New Restaurant, and Tom Douglas in Seattle won Outstanding Restaurateur, Boulevard in San Francisco snagged Outstanding Restaurant and Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in New York won Outstanding Chef.

The awards are determined by a ballot vote of judges, mostly restaurant critics and food writers (including this one).

22 comments Add your comment

justin cox

May 8th, 2012
12:59 am

Congrats chefs well deserved!!!

Detlef

May 8th, 2012
2:05 am

Linton is a great guy, but I can think of no more embarrassing representative of Athens than Hugh Acheson. It pains me that he’s the city’s best known chef. He’s a good cook, but his attitude and demeanor, especially on television, are awful. Also, as is the norm these days, his cookbook is pretty but his tone is one of self-absorption. I’ll never understand why the foodies tolerate it, let alone reward it.

I would rather pay to eat at Checker’s than get comped a free meal at any of his establishments.

Theresa

May 8th, 2012
7:17 am

So happy that Linton won!

Doug

May 8th, 2012
7:21 am

Detlef, Just the fact that you were up and filled with vitriol at 2 am suggests professional care is in order. Congratulations to both deserving chefs.

Graham

May 8th, 2012
8:03 am

Congratulations to Chris Hastings in Birmingham. Well deserved. For Atlantans wanting a change of pace, I suggest a weekend in Birmingham where you can enjoy some of the best food in the country (Highlands Bar & Grill and Hot & Hot Fish Club)

FM Fats

May 8th, 2012
8:29 am

I always thought you had to grow them. Sure would be quicker to just win one.

Jeffrey

May 8th, 2012
8:40 am

I love five and ten. Wish it were in atl. Congrats to both

Sarah

May 8th, 2012
11:30 am

Detlef – you’re right. I was going to say the same thing (except for your part about eating at Checkers).

K-10

May 8th, 2012
11:37 am

Ah, the food Oscars! I’ve had food from both chefs, and was sadly underwhelmed and don’t understand the fuss, but well done anyway, I suppose. I can’t wait to road trip to B-ham to try Hot & Hot! A personal favorite of mine, Michael Anthony from Gramercy Tavern, won an award, so kudos to him. :-)

Edward

May 8th, 2012
12:04 pm

Both winners are well-deserving. Acheson and Hopkins are some of the best chefs in the world. I don’t understand the puerile invective that some people direct at Hugh. I can only surmise they don’t get out much or resent his success. Acheson is a quirky guy, no question, but I enjoy his dry humor. The food at all of his establishments is top-notch (I especially enjoy The National, in Athens). Foregoing a wonderful meal at one of his outstanding restaurants simply because you’re butthurt that the owner doesn’t conform to your ideal is just, well, childish.

FM Fats

May 8th, 2012
1:01 pm

Detlef

May 9th, 2012
5:14 am

To recap briefly: I need professional help because I come home late and think Hugh’s behavior is embarrassing. Also, it’s childish not to patronize a restaurant run by someone I don’t care for.

Nice.

Anyway, to end on a positive note: There is no one more deserving than Linton. What he’s done for Rivers Elementary is superb.

Edward

May 9th, 2012
8:49 am

Detlef, it is very big of you to admit your faults so publicly. Owning them is the first step to overcoming them. Godspeed on your recovery.

Samantha

May 9th, 2012
11:43 am

I agree with Detlef. I suppose I need professional help too.

Zeus

May 9th, 2012
1:04 pm

Edward has it right. Some people just don’t “get” Hugh, perhaps because they think chefs should always be sweet and self-effacing. How boring that would be. Atcheson is wry, edgy and sometimes sarcastic. His comments often make me laugh. And his food ain’t half bad, either!

Zeus

May 9th, 2012
1:06 pm

That would be Acheson without the “t.” My bad.

Bertis Downs

May 10th, 2012
8:14 am

Mr/Ms Detlef: “I can think of no more embarrassing representative of Athens than Hugh Acheson.” Well there is not really much more to add to that– as we learned in law school Latin: The Thing Speaks For Itself. Yikes. Hugh is one of the finest people I know and his success is richly deserved and hard won– in every way. That some anonymous bore want to snark at him at 2 AM is no reflection on his work, his character, or his achievements. Go Hugh Go!

Samantha

May 10th, 2012
10:40 am

Mrs. Acheson (aka Bertis Downs) – you’re entitled to your opinion as am I. I happen to not like the guy, and there are many of us. I realize many do like him though. I wonder how many have actually tasted his food.

Edward

May 10th, 2012
11:43 pm

Samantha, does your therapist know you’re slipping?

Detlef

May 11th, 2012
7:57 am

Look, I don’t despise Hugh. I just think he’s rude and self-important, so it’s very unfortunate that he’s a nationally known representative of a city which is otherwise famous for being welcoming, warm and inclusive.

That said, anybody who wants a reflection on Acheson’s work, character and achievements need only look at the behavior of his supporters in this forum. Damn if y’all haven’t provided the best reason never to eat at one of his restaurants.

Edward

May 11th, 2012
4:50 pm

If I’ve managed to keep you away, then I’m happy. I’m sure your absence will only make an enjoyable meal even more exceptional.

Detlef

May 12th, 2012
4:31 am

I didn’t say you had provided *me* a reason; I, for one, needed no more than I already had.

Thank you, though, for making my point.