2012 James Beard Awards Honors Latina Chef Maricel Presilla (Full List of Winners!)

The 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards, the biggest award night for the culinary industry, happened last night. And while many chefs, cookbook authors and restaurateurs took away great (and well-deserved!) honors, Cuban-born Maricel Presilla, one of our favorite Latin American chefs, was awarded the regional chef award for the Mid-Atlantic region. Her restaurant, Cucharamama in Hoboken, New Jersey, is in a word: amazing. And while we fully encourage you to hop on a plane and go (no, really), you can also check out her numerous cookbooks for the experience at home.

This award comes as no surprise, as even President Obama recognized her culinary talent, when in 2009 he had Presilla cook for his “Fiesta Latina” White House celebration. (Apparently, he likes to throw a good party.) The chef, who is also a culinary historian specializing in the foods of Latin America and Spain, places emphasis on Latin American agriculture, like cacao. (Mmm, chocolate!).

Here’s the complete list of the James Beard Foundation’s awards, courtesy of The Associated Press. (Start booking those reservations now!):


National Chef Awards:

Best new restaurant

Next in Chicago

Outstanding chef

Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in New York

Outstanding pastry chef

Mindy Segal of Mindy's Hot Chocolate in Chicago

Outstanding restaurant

Boulevard in San Francisco

Outstanding restaurateur

Tom Douglas of Tom Douglas Restaurants in Seattle

Outstanding service

La Grenouille in New York

Outstanding wine and spirits professional

Paul Grieco of Terroir in New York

Outstanding wine program

No. 9 Park in Boston

Outstanding bar program

PDT in New York

Rising star chef of the year

Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York


Regional Chef Awards:


Great Lakes

Bruce Sherman of North Pond in Chicago


Maricel Presilla of Cucharamama in Hoboken, N.J.


Tory Miller of L'Etoile in Madison, Wisc.

New York City

Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern in New York


Tim Cushman of O Ya in Boston


Matt Dillon of Sitka & Spruce in Seattle


Matt Molina of Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles


Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Ala.


Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten in Athens, Ga.


Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta


Paul Qui of Uchiko in Austin, Texas


James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

Wolfgang Puck

James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

Charlie Trotter


James Beard Foundation Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees

Grant Achatz, chef and author, Chicago

Mark Bittman, journalist and author, New York

Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief at Food and Wine magazine, New York

Emily Luchetti, pastry chef and author, San Francisco

Marvin Shanken, publisher, New York


James Beard Foundation America's Classics

The Fry Bread House in Phoenix

Owner: Cecelia Miller

Nora's Fish Creek Inn in Wilson, Wyo.

Owners: Nora Tygum, Trace Tygum and Kathryn Tygum Taylor

St. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis

Owners: Stephen Huse and Craig Huse

Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna, Ark.

Owners: James and Betty Jones

Shady Glen in Manchester, Conn.

Owners: William and Annette Hoch