Another Beard nom for Houston
Acclaimed Houston restaurateur scores James Beard Award nomination for her cookbook-guide to Indian cuisine
A Houston chef is basking in the national spotlight. The James Beard Foundation has recognized the work of Pondicheri chef-owner Anita Jaisinghani as part of its 2023 Media Award nominees.
Given in addition to the foundation's Restaurant and Chef Awards, the Media Awards recognize a wide array of work, including cookbooks, restaurant reviews, food-related essays, podcasts, TV programs, and more.
Jaisinghani’s 2022 cookbook Masala: Recipes from India, the Land of Spicesis a finalist in the International category that recognizes “books with recipes focused on food or cooking traditions of countries, regions, or communities outside of the United States.” As its title implies, the book teaches readers the fundamentals of Indian cooking and how to use spices. Specifically, it provides instruction for how to cook with whole spices, offering techniques for warming spices in hot oil and what order to add spices to a recipe. Readers will learn to make dishes such as dosas, chutneys, samosas, and more.
A representative provided the following statement from Jaisinghani in response to CultureMap’s request for comment:
"I created Masala, which has been a labor of love for over 10 years, to be so much more than a cookbook. It is a reference guide, a small history lesson, a path to cooking using spices and so much more! I am thrilled that the JBF has chosen to recognize my work."
The foundation has recognized Jaisinghani before. She earned semifinalist nominations in the Best Chef: Southwest category in 2012, 2017, and 2018 as well as a finalist nomination for Best Chef: Texas in 2020.
In addition to Jaisinghani, the foundation noted the work of Kayla Stewart, a Houston-based food writer and University of Houston graduate. She’s nominated in the U.S. Foodways category for her role as a co-author of the book Gullah Geechee Home Cooking: Recipes from the Matriarch of Edisto Island and in the Profile category of the journalism awards for “The Sweetest Harvest,” an article in Food & Wine about sugarcane farmers in Louisiana. Stewart is collaborating with Lucille's chef-owner Chris Williams on a new cookbook that's expected to be published next year.
In the Reality of Competition Visual Media category of the Broadcast awards, the foundation nominated the Houston-based season of Top Chef.
Winners will be presented in Chicago on June 3. Houston’s three finalists in the Restaurant and Chef Awards will learn their fates at a ceremony in Chicago on June 5.