If you haven’t yet tried Annette restaurant in Aurora, here’s your cue. On Monday, chef and co-owner Caroline Glover was awarded the title of Best Chef in the Mountain Region by the James Beard Foundation at the prestigious James Beard Awards.
The awards, widely regarded as the Oscars of the food industry, returned for the first time since 2019 with an in-person ceremony at the Civic Opera House in Chicago. Colorado was guaranteed a win after local chefs swept nominations for the Best Chef in the Mountain Region.
“The thing I’ve learned most in the past two and a half years, and we’ve known this, but restaurants aren’t a luxury, we’re essential,” Glover said in her acceptance speech. “It’s time for us to start being treated that way.”
Speaking by phone, Glover, a first-time James Beard winner, expanded on that sentiment, saying she hopes to help the industry pivot into a sustainable career path not only for future foodies, but also to support the entire culinary ecosystem.
“Restaurants for so long have been, you know, maybe a holding place. I think that we should be more of a career-minded industry and in order to be that way, we have to be taken seriously,” she said. “The pandemic taught me that people need us. Not only guests, but other industries need us to keep them alive as well.”
“Restaurants aren’t a luxury, we’re essential. And it's time for us to start being treated that way.”
— James Beard Foundation (@beardfoundation) June 14, 2022
Additionally, Denver-based author and resident soul food expert Adrian Miller won a James Beard Media award for his new book, “Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue.”
The 2022 awards add to the growing list of accolades for local restaurants and chefs. In 2019, Frasca Food and Wine won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Service, a category that features restaurants from all over the country.
In 2020, Colorado notched an astonishing 18 semifinalist nominations and six finalists, including Glover and Dana Rodriguez at Super Mega Bien, who were both finalists again this year. However, the awards were canceled that year in light of the pandemic and criticism over a lack of diversity in the nominations pool. The James Beard Foundation did not give out awards in 2021, either.
Annette opened in 2017 at the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora.