The 2019 James Beard Foundation Awards are in the books, and Chicago chefs and restaurateurs took home four prizes. The Lyric Opera Chicago played host to another awards gala, with Boka Restaurant Group earning Outstanding Restaurateur, their first win after four nominations. Company founders Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm celebrated with their family and friends through the night at Girl & the Goat in the West Loop where Iron Chef Stephanie Izard was seen dancing up a storm with guests.
Rahm Emanuel delivered his final speech of his mayoral term at the gala and took the opportunity to rip President Donald Trump. Emanuel referred to Trump’s practice of serving fast food to championship sports teams. Earlier this year, that emerging tradition was criticized by Alinea Group co-founder Nick Kokonas who felt serving fast food was insulting. Emanuel’s team proceeded to tweet the remarks. During his speech, Emanuel said he didn’t care about the public’s perception as he would be soon out of a job. Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot’s inauguration is set for May 20.
“Fast food does not belong at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” Emanuel said. “And besides that you don’t belong at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
“Fast food does not belong at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” Great to speak at the 2019 James Beard Awards hosted here in Chicago, America’s #restaurantcity. Our food is a reflection of our greatest strength: our cultural diversity! #jbfa @beardfoundation pic.twitter.com/AXQrdHgCuy— Mayor Rahm Emanuel (@ChicagosMayor) May 6, 2019
As for Boka, crowds packed Girl & the Goat on Monday night for the company’s customary after party. Earlier, Boehm — a huge Cubs fan (Boka has a restaurant, Dutch and Doc’s, across the street from Wrigley Field) — said he received a text message on Sunday from team GM Jed Hoyer after the team’s seventh-straight win.
“Hoyer texted me and said it was a harbinger for Monday,” Boehm said.
Meanwhile, Best Chef: Great Lakes winners Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark of Parachute were in awe of their win. Kim was sobbing while accepting the award. The wife-husband team have been nominated in past years.
“I would be happy for everybody on that list,” Kim said. “That’s why I didn’t even think about the speech; I just wanted to be in the moment.”
Walk through the red carpet and the reception in the photos below. For the full list of winners, check out Eater National.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.