A Hawaii TV productionBy Betty Shimabukuro
company and a local diner
earn recognition at the
prestigious Beard Awards
NEW YORK -- Chicago chef Charlie Trotter was the man of the evening at last night's James Beard Awards ceremony, and a Hawaii production company won a share of the glory.
Trotter's restaurant, Charlie Trotter's, was named Outstanding Restaurant. "The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter," was named best cookbook in the category of chefs and restaurants. And a television series of the same name was declared best cooking show.
The televised "Kitchen Sessions," which aired in 13 segments on public television, was produced by First Daughter Mediaworks of Honolulu.
The Beard awards are considered the ultimate showcase for culinary talent in the country; 1,700 people in black tie and formal gowns attended.
Hawaii's Helen Chock stepped onstage draped in lei to accept a Regional Classics Award for her restaurant, the 54-year-old Helena's Hawaiian Foods in Kalihi.
The Regional Classic category is a special designation recognizing locally owned restaurants that best reflect the spirit of their communities.
Jean-Marie Josselin, chef/owner of A Pacific Cafe in Honolulu, as well as on Maui and Kauai, was nominated in the category of Best Chef for the Pacific Northwest/ Hawaii, but that award went to Jerry Traunfeld of The Herbfarm in Issaquah, Wash.
Trotter's awards follow a big win last year, when he was named Outstanding Chef nationwide. He shared the stage last night with Robert Bates of First Daughter Productions. "He would not let us have a script," Trotter said of Bates' directing style. "He was brutal."
Bates and Melanie Kosaka, his wife and co-producer, met Trotter when he was a guest chef on another of their shows, "New American Cuisine," based in Oregon.
The chef called later and asked them to produce his "Kitchen Sessions," Bates said, "and we said, like, 'Yes, of course.' "
The shows were filmed in Trotter's Chicago restaurant. Another 26 episodes are planned.
Kosaka, an Aiea High School graduate, didn't make the trip to New York to attend the ceremony, staying home instead with the couple's 3-year-old, Akiko, inspiration for their company's name.
Bates left for the post-awards parties wearing his Beard Award medallion -- and carrying one for Kosaka in the pocket of his tuxedo.
Other top awards given last night were:
Outstanding Chef Award: David Bouley, Danube, New York
Best New Restaurant: Gary Danko, San Francisco
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Andrew Carmellini, Cafe Boulud, New York
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Claudia Fleming, Gramercy Tavern, New York
For more on the James Beard Awards, including a list of winning cookbooks, see the Today section tomorrow in the Star-Bulletin.