Forget the Oscars – they’re so last weekend. The real awards season – the culinary prizes – are just starting to heat up. The first round of nominations for the James Beard Foundation’s restaurant awards were last week; today comes the announcement of the finalists for the International Assn. of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards.
The big winners were not surprising: Yotam Ottolenghi, very much the cook of the moment, was nominated for his new “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” in three categories: chefs and restaurants, food photography and styling, and international.
And Thomas Keller, pretty much the cook of every moment, was nominated for his “Bouchon Bakery” in two categories: chefs and restaurants, and food photography and styling. Keller is a longtime contributor to the Los Angeles Times Food section.
There were a couple of surprises, at least for the uninitiated. Charles Phan, chef and owner of the much-loved Slanted Door in San Francisco, was nominated twice for his first book “Vietnamese Home Cooking”; and Naomi Duguid, a cookbook writer’s cookbook writer, was nominated twice for her “Burma: Rivers of Flavor.”