Could this be the year that Asheville Chef Katie Button wins a James Beard award?


UPDATE: reports that two chefs tied for the rising star chef of the year award that Button was up for – Jimmy Bannos Jr. ofThe Purple Pig and Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island.

Asheville Chef Katie Button is in New York City today awaiting tonight’s James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony. Button is one of five nominees in the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. This is Button’s third nomination. The awards will handed out tonight in the David H. Koch Theater at New York’s Lincoln Center. A live stream of the event will be available through the foundation’s website starting at 5 p.m. Central.

Lots of folks put the James Beard awards on par with Academy Awards of the film industry, though others have argued that the real pinnacle of culinary achievement is winning a three- or four-stars from Michelin. Still, winning a James Beard award is no small thing. If Button wins tonight, it will certainly put her on an even bigger stage personally. The exposure will also benefit the restaurant, Curate, which she runs with her family in Asheville, as well as their new bar, Nightbell. The impact of the award will translate into greater opportunity for Button, and increase traffic to Asheville.

More about the awards:

In 1990 the James Beard Foundation made another leap forward by establishing the James Beard Foundation Awards for excellence in the food and beverage and related industries. The first awards were given in 1991. By shining a spotlight on the people behind the food we were learning to appreciate and enjoy, the James Beard Awards preempted the era of the celebrity chef we now take for granted.

More about Button from the foundation:

After earning a BioMaster’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from L’Ecole Centrale in Paris and before entering a Neurosciences PhD program, she took a detour. That path included jobs in José Andrés’ restaurants in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, CA; work with Chef Johnny Iuzzini at Jean Georges in New York; and ultimately a seven-month internship in the kitchen of elBulli, Ferran Adrià’s world-renowned Spanish restaurant. It is this unique world view that infuses Chef Button’s creations at Cúrate, where her work has earned national acclaim for its Spanish authenticity and creativity, and at Nightbell, which opened in February 2014 featuring a menu of innovative American bar cuisine complimented by choice selections of cocktails, wine, beer and spirits. Chef Button has been named a James Beard Rising Star Chef Semi-Finalist in 2012-2013, and a Finalist in 2014. Her creations have been featured in national publications such as The New York Times, Southern Living, and Food & Wine.

Good luck, Katie! Asheville is cheering for you.


Adam May 8, 2014 - 8:45 pm

Huge fan of the Buttons (and Felix)! Curate is without a doubt my favorite restaurant in town.

Jason: Michelin’s highest award is three stars. There are no 4-star Michelin awards.

Jason Sandford May 9, 2014 - 9:38 am

Thank you Adam!

Stu Helm May 6, 2014 - 10:46 am

Katie rules. Great chef, super-nice person.

Tyler May 6, 2014 - 8:54 am

Congratulations, Katie!

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