Mayor’s Press Office

James Beard Foundation Awards
Amelia Durand and Mary Blanton Ogushwitz

Choose Chicago
Al Orendorff

Illinois Restaurant Association
Janet Isabelli


The “Oscars of the Food Industry” Extends Stay in Chicago for Six Additional Years

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach announced today that Chicago will continue to host the James Beard Foundation Awards, an annual event honoring the best of the best in the food and restaurant industry, for an additional six years. The James Beard Foundation Awards successfully made the move to Chicago in 2015, with the support of the city, Choose Chicago, and the Illinois Restaurant Association, amongst many other city and state supporters. Currently slated to complete its run in 2021, today’s announcement ensures that the James Beard Foundation Awards will call Chicago home each year through 2027.

“The opportunity to host the James Beard Awards for an additional six years is testament to the city of Chicago’s reputation as a culinary capital and cultural destination,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Chicago’s world-class culinary scene is an important part of the city’s economy, supporting tourism, jobs and economic opportunities in neighborhoods across the city. We are proud to continue hosting this prestigious event and look forward to showing even more visitors what our city has to offer.”

“The city of Chicago has been an incredible partner and we’re thrilled to extend our stay for another six years,” said James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach. “In addition to the Awards, Chicago is a supporter of the Foundation's broader programming, including our women’s leadership, sustainability, and scholarship initiatives. This has been and continues to be a highly valued relationship for the Foundation and the industry. I look forward to working with the City of Chicago in support of the Foundation’s mission of ‘good food for good’.”

In addition to the Awards, the City of Chicago, Choose Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association will collaborate with the Foundation in its many philanthropic endeavors, including student scholarships, partnering in both Chicago Eats Week and Chicago Restaurant Week, as well as JBF Taste America events, and the support of JBF Impact Programs and the Foundation’s commitment to establish a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy and thought leadership.

"Our decision to move the James Beard Awards to Chicago in 2015 has been validated by the extraordinary success of the Awards program over the past several years," said Fred Seegal, James Beard Foundation Board Chair." We are happy to be extending this dynamic partnership."

“One of the keys to a thriving cosmopolitan visitor destination is the powerful brand of great restaurants, star chefs, diverse experiences and continued reinvention,” said David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago. “By partnering with the Illinois Restaurant Association and dozens of key culinary, hospitality leaders and sponsors Chicago has been able to leverage this platform to garner year-round exposure and acclamation as the culinary capital of the United States.”

The 2019 James Beard Awards celebrations will begin in New York City on Friday, April 26, 2019, with the James Beard Media Awards, a celebratory event honoring the nation's top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists that will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers.

The events then move to Chicago, beginning with the Leadership Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at which honorees will be recognized for their work in creating a more healthful, sustainable, and just food world. The James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 6, 2019, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards Lifetime Achievement, Design Icon, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.

“We are thrilled that Chicago will serve as home to the James Beard Awards through 2027,” said Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association. “The ceremony’s continued presence in Chicago punctuates our leadership in the world’s culinary landscape. We look forward to welcoming the Foundation and the visitors who travel here for the Awards, and to celebrating the impressive accomplishments of the restaurant industry’s finest.”

About the James Beard Foundation
Good Food for Good™

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to promote good food for good™. For more than 30 years, the James Beard Foundation has highlighted the centrality of food culture in our daily lives. Through the James Beard Awards, unique dining experiences at the James Beard House and around the country, scholarships, hands-on learning, and a variety of industry programs that educate and empower leaders in our community, the Foundation has built a platform for chefs and asserted the power of gastronomy to drive behavior, culture, and policy change around food. To that end, the Foundation has also created signature impact-oriented initiatives that include our Women’s Leadership Programs aimed at addressing the gender imbalance in the culinary industry; advocacy training through our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change; and the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards that shine a spotlight on successful change makers. The organization is committed to giving chefs and their colleagues a voice and the tools they need to make the world more sustainable, equitable, and delicious for everyone. For more information, visit; subscribe to the digital newsletter Beard Bites; and follow @beardfoundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Illinois Restaurant Association

Founded in 1914, the Illinois Restaurant Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. The IRA owns and produces Chicago Gourmet – the annual food and wine festival held in Millennium Park that unites hundreds of restaurants, chefs and beverage experts for a weekend filled with food and drink tastings, entertainment, cooking demonstrations, book signings, interactive seminars and more. The Association is a proud co-host of the James Beard Foundation Awards, which will be held in Chicago through 2027, and celebrates excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education throughout the country. For more information about the Illinois Restaurant Association, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official destination marketing organization for Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to bring regional, national and international business and leisure visitors to Chicago for the economic benefit of the city, the community and its membership. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ChooseChicago.

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