Off the Beaten Path with James Beard Nominees

The 2013 James Beard Awards are fast approaching and while much of the buzz revolves around the chefs and restaurants, there is a group of talented food aficionados in the other categories who influence the way we see, hear and think about food and dining in Midwest.

Here is a list of a few of these talented tastemakers:


Kramarczuk’s, Minneapolis
Winner of the 2013 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

Kramarczuk’s in Northeast Minneapolis already landed a 2013 James Beard American Classic award – with good reason. The foundation gives the award to “regional establishments, often family-owned, that are treasured for their quality food, local character, and lasting appeal.” Sounds like Kramarczuk’s. The deli, an institution in Nordeast, carries an array of freshly prepared East European specialties.

Andrew Zimmern, “Bizarre Foods America,” St. Louis Park, Minn.
Nominee for Best Television Program, On Location

Minnesota native Andrew Zimmern likes weird foods. On his show, “Bizarre Foods America,” Zimmern journeys to restaurants and roadside stops to taste America’s strange and wonderful foods.

Steve Dolinsky, “The Hungry Hound,” Chicago
Nominee for Best Television Segment

TV food reporter Steve Dolinsky of ABC 7 in Chicago is always on the hunt for Chicago’s best restaurants, bars and food shops in his segment, “The Hungry Hound.”

According to Dolinsky’s website, the best part of his job is “Getting paid to eat.” The worst part? “Keeping it off.”

Nina Barrett, “Fear of Frying,” Evanston, Ill.
Nominee for Best Radio Show/Audio Webcast

Nina Barrett’s “Fear of Frying” radio series takes a lighthearted approach to food. She asks the questions others don’t, such as why nobody ever does bring you figgy pudding despite how amazing the Christmas carol says it is.

The Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition, Season One, Highland Park, Ill.
Nominee for Best Video Webcast, Fixed Location and/or Instructional

ProducersNicolas DeGrazia, Daniel Kullman, Jimmy MacMillan and Julie MacMillan are behind the James Beard nominated video webcast, “The Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition.”

Season one showcases restaurant pastry chefs’ talent and broadcasting their dessert creations around the globe.

Mike Sula, “Chicken of the Trees,” Chicago Reader, Chicago
Nominee for MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award 

Writer Mike Sula is fed up with fending squirrels away from his garden. In his James Beard nominated article in the Chicago Reader, Sula asks, “Why did we stop eating squirrels in America?”

Jonathon Sawyer, Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
Nominee for Best Chef: Great Lakes

Chef owner Jonathan Sawyer is dedicated to providing his patrons with good food and a great dining experience. He is a tireless supporter of the green movement, local agriculture and sustainable businesses in northeast Ohio and around the country.

His restaurant, The Greenhouse Tavern, is a part of the farm to plate movement and is also the first certified green restaurant in Ohio.