The James Beard Foundation gives the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for food in the United States every year. There really should be a Nobel Prize in Food, although the home of lutefisk may not be the best place to make the selection. Not that I want to turn up my nose at lutefisk. I imagine that if, like my good friend Harvey Knudsen, you were raised on it, one of life’s great pleasures would be washing down some lutefisk with an ice cold Quisling. In all, though, I feel confident that the Nobel committee would never have made the breakthrough that the James Beard folks did recently, in finally recognizing pit men and women as the truly great chefs they are. They recognized a couple of legends.
Rodney Scott was selected Best Chef in the Southeast region (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV). He has long run Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, South Carolina. I’ve wanted to get there for a long time, but it’s a bit off the beaten track. They cook whole hogs over wood, and serve it pulled (not chopped) with an Eastern North Carolina style vinegar and pepper sauce. They recently opened another place on northern King Street in Charleston, and that has received a lot of attention. I need to get there. If you get there first, send a report.
In addition, Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s Barbecue in Lexington, Texas, was honored as a semifinalist in the Southwest region (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT). Snow’s serves the best brisket in Texas, which is going some. I’ve only eaten there once, but it was a wonderful experience. You can read about it this short post, which includes a link to a brief article and a video about the truly amazing Ms. Tootsie. You really must go to Snow’s if you are in Texas on a Saturday morning within a couple of hundred miles of Lexington.