New York chef Anthony, Blue Hill restaurant win James Beard awards

By Richard Leong (Reuters) - Michael Anthony of the venerable Gramercy Tavern in New York City was recognized as the best U.S. chef by the James Beard Foundation on Monday, while Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a pioneer of the "farm-to-table" movement just north of the Big Apple, took the best restaurant honor. On the biggest night of the year for the U.S. restaurant industry, New York chefs and restaurants collected other top prizes. Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar was named outstanding U.S. pastry chef, while Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery became the first winner of the foundation's outstanding baker award. Batard collected the prize as best new restaurant. The foundation marked the 25th anniversary of its annual awards that recognize culinary excellence by moving the ceremony outside of New York for the first time. Chicago hosted the event and will remain the awards venue for the next two years. Chicago's Donnie Madia was named outstanding restaurateur. His One Off Hospitality Group manages a group of acclaimed restaurants including Blackbird and Avec. Jessica Largey, who works at two Michelin-star Manresa in Los Gatos, California, won the "rising star" award as the most promising chef. For the coveted top chef prize, Anthony beat out Sean Brock of Husk in Charleston, South Carolina; Suzanne Goin of Lucques in Los Angeles; Donald Link of Herbsaint in New Orleans and Marc Vetri of Vetri in Philadelphia. Last week, Anthony opened his first restaurant Untitled at the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City after spending a decade as the head chef of the 21-year-old Gramercy Tavern that is known for its upscale American cuisine. Blue Hill at Stone Barns has been a premier destination for the "farm-to-table" movement, championed by chef and owner Dan Barber. The restaurant is located in a converted barn at Pocantico Hills, north of New York City, where Barber showcases meat and vegetables grown at Stone Barns and nearby farms. Barber took the best U.S. chef honor in 2009. Although in the heart of Manhattan, Anthony credits Gramercy Tavern's strong ties with farmers through the greenmarket just blocks away for its success. "We want to go to buy the food straight from the people who know the most about it," he said in a video on the restaurant's website. (Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Mary Milliken)