What Is James Beard: The James Beard Foundation is a famed New York City-based non-profit culinary arts organization that supports and promotes chefs and industry professionals. The organization is perhaps best-known for its annual awards that honor chefs, restaurateurs, authors and journalists.
The James Beard Awards are considered by experts to be the most prestigious of their kind in the U.S., perhaps even in the world.
The 2020 Awards: Book and media award winners were announced online in late May, but the organization said it won't announce winners in remaining categories such as best new restaurant or outstanding baker during its annual awards program Sept. 25.
The decision is due to the ongoing suffering and negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the belief that naming winners won't help the industry in its uphill battle.
"The uncertainty of this time for our industry is already a hard reality and considering anyone to have won or lost within the current tumultuous hospitality ecosystem does not in fact feel like the right thing to do," James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach said in a press release.
"In short, an honor which we know is held in high regard, at the moment, feels minor when compared to the dire situation we are in."
2021 And Beyond: Any awards ceremony based on 2020 work is "unfair and misguided," according to the James Beard Foundation, so the organization said it will forgo its traditional awards presentation in 2021.
Instead, the organization said it will celebrate the spirit of the independent restaurant community and the leadership it showed during the crisis.
The next entry and recommendation period will start in fall 2021 for awards being given out in 2022.
The James Beard Foundation also said it will "overhaul" existing policies and procedures to remove any systemic bias, increase diversity and maintain its relevance.