Nancy Silverton, the founder of Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, took the culinary equivalent of the Oscar for Best Actor at the James Beard Awards on Monday evening (May 5, 2014). Silverton was named Outstanding Chef in a rare victory for Los Angeles - which hasn't taken the category since 1998 when Spago's Wolfgang Puck won.

Heston BlumenthalHeston Blumenthal Won Best Cookbook

In another success story for the west coast, Sherry Yard, the former Spago pastry chef, was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. 

Silverton's victory was somewhat of an upset, with local favorite Suzanne Goin of Lucques thought to have done enough after being nominated for Outstanding Chef several years over the years. Other nominees were Michael Anthony of Gramery Tavern in New York, Sean Brock of McCrady's in Charleston, David Kinch of Manresa in California and Marc Vetri of Vetri in Philadelphia.

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Best New Restaurant went to Peche Seafood Grill in New Orleans, while Garrett Oliver of the acclaimed Brooklyn Brewery won Outstanding Wine, Beer or Sprits Professional. 

Elsewhere, there was a collective gasp from American cookbook writers when Blighty's very own Heston Blumenthal won Cookbook of the Year for his 400-page tome Historic Heston. The winning book is a lovely illustrated look back at the history of English cuisine, including Heston's famous Meat Fruit, currently on the menu at his Dinner restaurant in London. 

Last year's winner of outstanding chef went to David Chang, of the Momofuku Noodle Bar, in New York.

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