The James Beard awards, the culinary world’s Oscars, were held last night, as the who’s who of American cuisine gathered together to honor the most outstanding among them. It was a good night for female chefs, who made a strong showing, while famous faces such as Heston Blumental were also recognised for their excellence.

Heston BlumenthalBlumenthal's Historic Heston was named cookbook of the year

The ceremony held at the Lincoln Center in New York was attended by than 1,700 of the food world finest, as top chefs and restaurants were honoured.

Nancy Silverton of L.A’s Pizzeria Mozza took home the main honor, being named Outstanding Chef. It was the first time in 16 years that an L.A. chef has taken home the prize and only the fourth time in the award’s 24 year history that a woman has won. San Francisco’s Slanted Door, a Vietnamese restaurant owned by Charles Phan, won in the Outstanding Restaurant category, while Peche Seafood Grill in New Orleans won Best New restaurant.

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In the regional categories The Spotted Pig’s April Bloomfield won the Best Chef in New York City award, while San Francisco’s Daniel Patterson of Coi took the prize on the west coast. For the midwest Justin Aprahamian of Sanford in Milwaukee was recognised and Rasika in Washington, D.C.’s Vikram Sunderam was named in the mid west category.

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Celebrity chef Heston Blumental won the overall Cookbook of the Year award for his Historic Heston work. The book also took home the top prize in the Cooking from a Professional Point of View category. ‘Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics’ host, Ina Garten was named the outstanding television host for her Food network series, whilst PBS’s ‘The Mind of A Chef’ won best on location programme. Veteran Martha Stewart was honoured for her ‘Cooking School’ series which won in the studio category and another PBS programme, ‘Eating Alabama’ took home the best documentary award.

Ina GartenIna Garten was named best host

James Beard was an American chef credited with establishing a gourmet American food identity. Continuing on his legacy, the annual awards were established in 1990, by the James Beard Foundation and held every year on what would have been his birthday. The winners in each category are voted for by over 600 culinary professionals with each winner receiving a bronze medallion etched with Beard’s image and a certificate from the foundation.