(SPOT.ph) If Hollywood has the Oscars, the food world has the James Beard Awards—the annual awards that shines the spotlight on standout chefs, restaurateurs, food writers, cookbook authors, and content creators in and around the U.S. We were beyond elated as the 2023 list of nominees included a number of Filipino food figures—among them content creator Erwan Heussaff, under the Social Media category of the James Beard Foundation Media Awards. Well, the results are out, and Heussaff happily bagged the coveted award mentioned!
Heussaff—specifically, his Instagram account @erwan—is listed under the Social Media Account sub-category of the James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards. The former shines the spotlight on "excellence in a single food-related post, or compilation of up to three posts, that clearly represents the intention of the Facebook page, Twitter account, TikTok account, Instagram feed, or other social media [formats]", while the latter is said to be open to "all works in English from digital and terrestrial media—radio, television broadcasts, podcasts, documentaries, online sites, social media—covering food and beverage topics and appearing widely for the first time in the United States in 2022."
"This is incredible," said the Filipino-French content creator during the Media Awards ceremony held in Chicago. He thanks the crew of The Fat Kid Inside Studios and its video channel FEATR, as well as wife [Anne Curtis] and daughter for "allowing me to travel to tough places to create stories."
"Anywhere you go in the world you'll meet Filipinos, especially in the food and beverage industry," he relays, lamenting how Filipino culture is still relatively unknown to the world despite Filipino overseas workers making significant contributions to local revenue. Still, he says, "tons of people" have called Filipino food the "next big thing"—and this is an outcome he likewise hopes to push for. "This [award] for me means absolutely everything because it motivates me further to keep shining a light on our beautiful country, our beautiful people, and the food that's made in our kitchens."
"I'm still shaking. We made it!," he also writes in an Instagram post.
Three Filipino-American chefs remain in the running for other categories of the prestigious awards, albeit for its Restaurant and Chef Awards leg. Chef Aaron Verzosa of Seattle's Archipelago is nominated under the Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific category, while Chef Vince Bugtong of San Francisco's ABACÁ and Chef Margarita Manzke of L.A.'s République (sibling resto of Wildflour in Manila!) are both nominated under the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category. The ceremony for this leg will be held and streamed online on June 5, 5:30 p.m. CT (that's around 6:30 a.m. on June 6, Philippine Time)—keep those fingers crossed!
The annual awards—which has been around since 1990—is all about recognizing "exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system." They likewise strive to push for "racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive."
For more information, check out the James Beard Foundation's website.