Although the final nominees for The James Beard Foundation award categories will not be announced for another week, two of the top honorees and recipients of this year’s prestigious award have been revealed. Kevin Zraly, who had previously won the 1993 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional Award, and who is a beloved wine educator and author, is the recipient of the 2011 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. FareStart, a non-profit organization that specializes in providing training programs for homeless people to secure jobs for them in the culinary industry, has been awarded the 2011 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award. Both honorees will receive their special achievement awards during the big night, Monday, May 9, 2011, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, where the remainder of the awards will also be given out.
Kevin Zraly has been working with wine since the 1970s, when he became cellar master, and then wine director for the famous Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center. There, he also established the Windows on the World Wine School, where he used his wit and approachability to educate people on wine in a friendly and understandable manner. Zraly also wrote Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, a book that covers just about everything there is to know about wine, which he updates on a yearly basis, making it the #1 best-selling wine book in the world.
FareStart was founded in 1988 by chef and entrepreneur David Lee, and gives homeless men and women the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for them to successfully secure a job in the food service industry. It offers several training programs for both adults and students to cater to everyone’s individual needs, as well as a Graduate Support Services program to provide continuous guidance to them even after they have completed the program.
Both Kevin Zraly and FareStart have made a significant impact on the culinary industry, proving that the power of education is an essential ingredient in today’s world, and making them well deserving of their honors.