Posted May 11, 2006, 12:00 AM EDT
David Bowen of Bowen & Company will produce next year's James Beard Foundation awards, according to Dorothy Cann Hamilton, the chairwoman of the foundation's board of trustees. “We've gone through a great governance sea change,” she told us. “We have a new board of trustees, and new bylaws, so in the spirit of good governance, we put out an RFP. We got some wonderful bids and some very fresh thinking for the awards.” Hamilton also told us that the foundation will put out an RFP every year from now on.
As we reported earlier this week, after 16 years, veteran Beard awards producer Melanie Young of M. Young Communications will no longer plan the annual awards show, often dubbed the “Oscars of the food world.” “I'm going to focus the energy that I had put into the awards to develop some other initiatives that have been gelling in my head,” says Young, who plans to focus less on tasting events, which has been her company's forte in the past (the firm has also produced such events for Bon Appétit and City Harvest), in favor of developing the company's wine and spirits program, and executing more elaborate food and wine-oriented destination, education, and press events.
Both parties have avoided showing any bad blood over the change. Young was treated to especially warm-and-fuzzy thank-yous from the foundation for her 16 years of producing the awards. In addition to receiving a plaque at this year's journalism awards at the Grand Hyatt on May 7, she was marched on stage and thanked again at the main awards ceremony on May 8 at the Marriott Marquis. The morning after, the foundation's restaurant chef awards committee hosted a lunch in her honor at Tintol.