PCS Blog

The James Beard Foundation: Celebrating the Culinary Community

Posted by Shana | 11 January 2013

Opening night for I Love to Eat has arrived! As we celebrate the life and talent of Portland native James Beard in a replica of Beard’s own kitchen here on the Main Stage, let’s take a moment to jump on over to what was once his actual kitchen in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
So what’s happening in his kitchen today? Well, thanks to the James Beard Foundation, Beard’s Greenwich Village home has been sustained to carry on his passion for life, education and food. 


The James Beard Foundation came to life shortly after James Beard’s death in 1985, when a group of his friends and colleagues led by Peter Kump, a former student of Beard’s and founder of the Institute of Culinary Education, made it their mission to further Beard’s love of food and community.  At Julia Child’s suggestion, the group raised the money for Kump to purchase Beard's New York brownstone at 167 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village, which would become the home of the foundation. The James Beard Foundation officially opened November 5, 1986.

Beard’s kitchen is currently a “performance space” for guest chefs from around the world. The kitchen is the stage and the chefs are the actors, their culinary tools their props, the ingredients their lines, the guests the audience. It is a space for artists to practice their craft and bring food to life. But the James Beard Foundation does more than that!
Among these programs is the annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize all facets of the culinary community. Every year on the first weekend in May at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, those who are dedicated to the preservation of the past, present and future of food are recognized with the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America: a James Beard Award. More than 600 culinary professionals vote on the finest chefs, restaurants, wine professionals, journalists, cookbook authors, restaurant designers, and other food professionals in the United States. Those who are honored with the award receive, from the James Beard Foundation, a certificate of excellence as well as a bronze medallion engraved with the image of James Beard himself. No money is awarded, so this award is truly about the honor, the love of food, and the recognition of how integral food is to our lives, our families and our communities.
Both the James Beard Foundation and Portland Center Stage began with a passion for art, education and strengthening the community, and through the years have continued to uphold and develop these core values. Which of our values and programs are most inspiring to you?
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