Watch 'Queer Eye' Star Tan France Makeover the James Beard-Nominated Rising Star Chefs
On Monday night, one of the most anticipated nights in the food industry will be upon us as the James Beard Foundation presents its awards for 2019 at a ceremony on Monday, May 6 hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson at Chicago’s Lyric Opera. Among the nominees are six chefs who have been tapped for this year’s Rising Star Award, highlighting the work of chefs under the age of 30. This year’s nominees include two Food & Wine Best New Chefs honorees — Kwame Onwuachi of Washington D.C.’s Kith/Kin (2019) and Jonathan Yao of Los Angeles’ Kato (2018) — as well as Ana Castro of New Orleans’ Coquette, Alisha Elenz of Chicago’s MFK, Alexander Hong of San Francisco’s Sorrel, and Jesse Ito of Philadelphia’s Royal Izakaya. But chef’s aren’t necessarily known for their fashion sense, which is why, for their big night on the red carpet, the JBF and S.Pellegrino (the Rising Star Award sponsor) enlisted the help of Tan France, fashion expert on Netflix’s Queer Eye series, to give all six chefs a makeover. Check out the video below:
First, in true Queer Eye style, the chefs sit down with France and open up about their personal histories as well as their reaction when they heard they were nominated for a James Beard Award. Then it’s onto the fashion.
“We don’t have time to go out and shop and accessorize. I think a lot of us it’s like okay pick a dress out or pick a tux out and we’re good. We’re not like going to put a lot of energy into it. I’m just really excited.” Elenz said during her interview.
“As chefs, we really focus on functional fashion, things that make sense for us in order to be as comfortable as possible to get a job done,” Onwuachi admits. “And we’re always focused on caring about other people. But this gave us a chance to care about ourselves.”
Chef Ana Castro brought her own colorful, floral huipil to represent her Mexican heritage, which France helped pop by combining it tailored black pants and heels with a flash of gold. "I want to be able to represent my culture because it has played such a big part in who I am and why I am here at this moment," she says.
Ito likens the Beard Awards to the Oscars and cites his experience with France as helping to mentally prepare him for the event. “I think after today, yeah, we’re good to go.”
Check out more information about the award and the video on www.sanpellegrino.com.