Jeremiah Langhorne Wins Beard Award
Jeremiah Langhorne, the chef and co-owner of the Michelin-starred The Dabney, 122 Blagden Alley NW, won the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic on Monday night at a ceremony in Chicago hosted by The Chew’s Carla Hall. The award is given annually to the top chef in D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Virginia.
Also at the ceremony, chef José Andrés was presented with the 2018 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year award for his work feeding people in Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricane that left the island without power. That award had previously been announced.
Langhorne was up against some stiff competition for the regional award, including Tom Cunanan of Bad Saint and Amy Brandwien of Centrolina, both in D.C., as well as Rich Landau of Vedge in Philadelphia and Cindy Wolf of Charleston in Baltimore.
Other area chefs who had been nominated for the award but didn’t make it to the semi-finals include Esther Lee of Obelisk and Cedric Maupillier of Convivial, both in D.C.; Tony Conte of Inferno Pizzeria in Darnestown; Traver King of The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Va.; and Seng Luangrath of Padaek in Falls Church. Kevin Tien of Hitmitsu in Petworth was a finalist in the Rising Star Chef of the Year race, but that prize went to Camille Cogswell of Zahav in Philadelphia.
Langhorne, a Charlottesville native, opened The Dabney in 2015 with partner Alex Zink. Previously he was chef de cuisine at Sean Brock’s McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C., which is known for its Southern cuisine and local ingredients. Lanhorne has applied a similar focus on regional cooking in the DMV using a wood-fired hearth and classic techniques to prepare hyper-local dishes like Chesapeake sugar toads (they are a fish) with buttermilk dressing and hot honey.
He began his food career at a small Italian restaurant in Charlottesville, followed by an externship a OXO restaurant there, where he eventually became executive sous chef. He moved to McCrady’s as a stage in 2009. Then after completing a two-month stage at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, he returned to McCrady’s as sous chef, becoming chef de cuisine in 2011.
During his acceptance speech, which he hadn’t prepared in advance because he said he didn’t believe he was going to win, he thanked his business partners and staff. “We really view every single day as an opportunity to make people happy, and I’m so grateful to have that opportunity every day,” he said.
“I am still in shock and have not fully comprehended the events of last night. For my entire career I’ve looked up to the people in that room. I’ve drawn inspiration, strength, joy and knowledge from them. Just being able to attend the [James Beard Foundation] awards filled me with so much happiness, actually winning is well beyond my wildest expectation!” Langhorne said Tuesday in an Instagram post. “I’m so proud to represent D.C. alongside the other finalists who work so hard to make our city and region so special. My business partner [Alex Zink] and I could not be more proud of our team. I’m so thankful and proud of all of them and for every chef who has ever taught or inspired me.”
In media awards given out on Apr. 27, Pati Jinich won the award for Outstanding Personality/Host for Pati’s Mexican Table on WETA, and Maura Judkis was given the Humor award for her Washington Post article, Pumpkin Spice Life.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.