The ceremony takes place May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
The James Beard Foundation has announced that Carla Hall, the co-host of ABC’s The Chew will host its awards ceremony on May 7, at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. Tamron Hall, an MSNBC journalist, will host the James Beard Foundation Media Awards on April 27 at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
Winners of the 2018 James Beard Media Awards—which includes cookbook authors, food writers, and television broadcasters and hosts—will be announced at the media awards ceremony, while the remaining winners, including the Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, and Design Icon, will be honored at the May 7 ceremony in Chicago.
The James Beard Foundation deserves props for appointing two women of color to host the awards. The theme of this year’s awards ceremony is “Rise,” so hopefully this is a step toward acknowledging that the food and restaurant industry need to make space for the talents and ambitions of women and minorities.
Notably, Tamron received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Reporting: Hard News in Network Television in 2015, for her Today segment on domestic violence called “Shine a Light,” while Carla is a member of the James Beard Foundation's Women’s Leadership Advisory Committee.
This year, 40 percent of the James Beard Award nominees are women, and there’s a much larger range of geographic diversity among the nominees as well, with restaurants in Aurora, Colorado and Mobile, Alabama receiving nods.
It’s also worth noting that recently disgraced restaurateur Mario Batali was dismissed from his hosting duties on The Chew after allegations of sexual misconduct against him began to surface, so it’s heartening to see the James Beard Foundation put Batali's female co-host in the spotlight. In fact, the foundation sent out an email to judges requesting that if they have “concerns” about a chef (or a restaurant), he or she should be left out of the nominations.