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James Beard Awards to Hit Sweet Home Chicago

The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony will hold its 25th annual event in the Windy City. The New York-based foundation honors the the nation's best chefs, restaurants and food media. Some say this cements Chicago as home of a hot restaurant scene.

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This May 7, 2012 file combo photo shows Chef Wylie Dufresne, chef and owner of the wd~50 and Alder restaurants in Manhattan, left, and chef Grant Achatz of Next in Chicago at the James Beard Foundation Awards in New York. The James Beard Foundation announced Tuesday, May 20, 2014, that its awards ceremony honoring the best chefs and restaurants is moving to Chicago after 24 years in New York City. (AP Photo/Jason Decrow, Files)

Chicago is adding another jewel to its culinary crown. After 24 years in the Big Apple, the James Beard Foundation awards ceremony is moving to the Windy City next year.

It's more proof that Chicago has fast become home to one of the country's hottest restaurant scenes. The foundation — which is based in New York and honors the nation's best chefs, restaurants and food media — says several cities had asked to host the annual awards ceremony, but Chicago's offer of marketing and sponsorship support was too good to turn down.

The James Beard awards were first held in 1990, and have always been held in New York. The awards honor those who follow in the footsteps of Beard, considered the dean of American cooking when he died in 1985.

Chicago's chefs have brought home numerous Beard awards over the years, including best chefs for Rick Bayless (1995), Charlie Trotter (1999), Grant Achatz (2008) and Paul Kahan (shared with New York's David Chang in 2013). Bayless' Frontera Grill was named best restaurant in 2007 and Trotter's Charlie Trotter's earned the honor in 2000.

The foundation's awards ceremony for chefs and restaurants will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on May 4, 2015. The separate ceremony for books and other media awards will remain in New York. The foundation has no plans to relocate its headquarters.

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