5/08/2012 12:24:00 PM

Party Report: Overheard at The James Beard Awards

The Press Room at the Beard Awards
One of the best parts of being at the James Beard Awards, the food industry's annual awards show? Everyone is getting their drink on - and once the booze starts to flow, the zingers start to fly. We made the rounds during the event, both in the Champagne fueled press room and on the floor of the bi-level gala and were happy to take notes as people let loose. Here's some of the best things we overheard:

This year, the awards show kicked off with a piece of theater - an excerpt of a one-man play dubbed I Love to Eat: Cooking with James Beard. Sadly this foray into drama did not sit so well with some:

"Our industry has such ADD. I felt bad for the actor, he was doing his thing and people were still sitting down - it was not pretty. I heard nothing but groans." Sip of wine. "Still, I guess it was a joy at the same time."

"I don't know much about drama or anything, but if I had to rate the play on a scale of one to ten, I'd say it was...well...around a one."

"That guy playing James Beard looks like Jeffery Tambor. They should have just got Andrew Zimmern to do it!"

We remarked that Christina Tosi looked beautiful in her awards gown and pointed out that we were used to seeing her in her chef whites. Her response: "Oh, that's like my lesbian cafeteria worker extravaganza outfit."

Dapper gents in the Press Room
In the press room, members of the media mingle with winners as they are ushered about ("The handlers are out in full!" one journalist said as he tried to get some face time with winner Michael Anthony), but it can sometimes be hard to hear what's happening on stage: "Is there an awards show going on?"

Still the scribes schmoozed it up, complementing each other's getups:

"Is that Marc Jacobs?"
"This? No, I wore it to prom in high school."

The organizers graciously provide some grub to go with the booze - this year it was caviar and foie gras. Not hearty enough for some, as one (tipsy) attendee pleaded: "can't we get some pizza up in here!?" Though Seamless was discussed, none was ordered. (The food tables didn't open until 8:30PM.)

Teenage chef Greg Grossman was in on the mingling, and wants an important fact to be known: "I am NOT the Justin Bieber of food." True, we love you hair Greg, but we think the Bieb may have you beat in that department. He did notice us taking pictures of chef tattoos and offered to get one, pointing out "you'll just need to get my mom's consent on that one." We think we'll pass on that one.

Floyd Cardoz and friend
After the awards ended, it was on to the gala, where we snapped photos of folks like Floyd Cardoz, whose friend pointed out: "He only likes to take pictures with me because I make him look skinny." Everyone was ready to schmooze. After being introduced to an eager fan, one industry heavyweight responded with a cold stare and an "uh-huh" before turning and walking in the other direction.

As the revelers drank it up in the room, one drink slinger took in the crowd and commented on his career trajectory: "This is why I wouldn't open a nightclub, I HATE these people."

Awww, now that's a little harsh. After the booze flowed a little bit more everyone made up and liked each other again. Especially those that ended up at the EMP after party, where one tipsy guest danced next to a table of tipsy diners, pointed, and exclaimed: "there are people EATING DINNER IN HERE!"

Yep, and dancing the night away. Until next year!


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