TV chef Alton Brown hosted the event, which honors professionals in the food and beverage industries. Winners of the Foundation's annual Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards were honored on May 4, 2012, at the ceremony and dinner at Gotham Hall in New York.
Christina Tosi , who oversees desserts, breads and ice cream for Chang's Momofuku restaurant group and is best known as the woman behind his Momofuku Milk Bar, was named rising star of the year . She earned the honor largely for her knack for crafting unusual sweet treats including soft serve ice cream made from milk flavored by breakfast cereal. She has won an almost fanatical following.
Next restaurant in Chicago was named best new restaurant, and "Modernist Cuisine" by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet is the Cookbook of the Year.
Los Angeles restaurateur Wolfgang Puck was given a lifetime achievement award, and Chicago restaurateur Charlie Trotter was named humanitarian of the year.
The awards, considered the Oscars of the food world, are named for Beard, who was considered the dean of American cooking when he died in 1985. For a full list of awards, go to jamesbeard.org.