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James Beard Award Winners - The Oscars of the Food Industry

"James Beard Award Winners - The Oscars Of The Food Industry" Pt. 1 April 25th, 2015

"James Beard Award Winners - The Oscars Of The Food Industry" Pt. 2 April 25th, 2015

We Sell Restaurants: Restaurant Reality April 25, 2015

Listen and learn what it is like to be nominated for what some call the Oscars of the food industry. We have put together a Whos Who of the food and beverage industry in America. They share how this honor was life changing for each of them as a chef.

Industry Guests Join the Restaurant Brokers

Justin Woodward
Justin Woodward
Justin Woodward enjoys the challenge of evolving cuisine, using ancient
and modern techniques to bring out the essential nature of house-grown,
foraged and local ingredients. Lauded by The Oregonian for his
“powerfully creative dishes,” Karen Brooks, Portland Monthly food critic
and author of The Mighty Gastropolis calls chef Woodward, "The only
Portland chef cooking at Michelin-star level.”
Executive chef from 2011, Woodward arrived at Castagna in 2009 from
New York’s WD-50, where he worked under Pastry Chef Alex Stupak at
WD-50. This experience, along his time at a stagier at such world-class
restaurants as Noma in Denmark and Mugaritz Restaurant in San
Sebastian, Spain, has culminated in his current direction: cuisine that is
seasonal and progressive, with a focus on surprising his guests with
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  • Castagna Castagna
JJ Johnson
JJ Johnson
It was at his grandmother’s side that JJ Johnson’s culinary spark was lit. Hardworking and an obliging teacher, his grandmother brought Caribbean influences into the kitchen, instilling in him a passion for expressive flavors and for following the rhythm of the seasons.

From home hearth to classical training, Johnson made the move to the Culinary Institute of America, giving a technical backbone to a well-laid foundation of food love. He went on to hone his skills in some of New York’s most esteemed kitchens: Centro Vinoteca, Jane, and Tribeca Grill among them. Constantly in search of new flavors, Johnson also spent time in Ghana, studying West African cuisine and cooking at Villa Monticello, Ghana’s Premier Luxury Boutique Hotel and Spa.

Now diving headfirst into eclecticism, he helms the kitchen at The Cecil and historic Minton’s jazz club next door, which he helped open under the auspices of Chef Alexander Smalls. Johnson’s star is clearly on the rise: not only winner of Rocco DiSpirito’s Dinner Party competition (where he wowed the culinary elite with his twists on straightforward cooking), Johnson was on both the Forbes  and Zagat 30 Under 30 lists, was named an Eater Young Gun, all in 2014. As if that weren’t enough, The Cecil was also named Esquire’s best restaurant of 2014. This year, his career unfolds as StarChefs names him Rising Star for Community in 2015. Johnson continues to revel in transforming simple cuisine with bold flavors and unexpected ingredients. 
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  • The Cecil / Mintons The Cecil / Mintons
Frank Fronda
Frank Fronda
Frank Fronda is chief culinary officer at Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse and principal of restaurant group The Goat LLC. Fronda is a first generation Italian-American from Brooklyn.  Fronda’s restaurant experience ranges from Palio and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, to Napa Valley Grille in Paramus, New Jersey where he earned a two-star review from the New York Times and a three star review in New Jersey Magazine naming it Restaurant of the Year.  He also led the kitchen at one of the highest Zagat rated restaurants in Los Angeles, Cafe del Rey at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire. Frank was invited to appear as a featured chef at the James Beard House by the age of 23. Fronda has since been acknowledged the James Beard Foundation four times, in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2006. It was the James Beard acknowledgements that attracted international interest for Fronda’s expertise and services as well.
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  • Echo & Rig  Butcher and Steakhouse Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse