The James Beard Foundation announced their 2014 inductees to the Who's Who of Food and Beverage yesterday. The foundation describes the Who's Who honorees as "a cadre of the most accomplished food and beverage professionals in the country ... each has been identified by his or her peers as having displayed remarkable talent and achievement. Every member of the Who's Who has contributed in some substantial way to America's constantly evolving culinary scene." Of this year's six inductees, there's one we're particularly psyched about: L.A.'s own Sherry Yard.
Yard was the longtime executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck, overseeing the pastry programs for his entire empire. She's now working on opening a bakery and food hall at the Helms Bakery complex with Sang Yoon. She was the subject of a profile that was the centerpiece of our Dessert Issue last year, a story that ended with the words "it's high time Sherry Yard got her due." It seems that time has come.
The blurb about Yard in the Who's Who press release reads:
Renowned chef Sherry Yard has earned the praise of her critics and peers with multiple accolades awarded throughout her career including two James Beard Awards for Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year and Best Baking Book for her cookbook debut The Secrets of Baking. Yard served as Executive Pastry Chef at Wolfgang Puck's empire for nearly 20 years where her role encompassed a range of responsibilities from crafting masterful breads, creating menus, opening new restaurants while mentoring a generation of pastry chefs in kitchens from Singapore to Santa Monica. In 2014 Yard will revive the iconic Helms Bakery, a Los Angeles landmark that will feature a dinette for breakfast and lunch, a dedicated bakery, and a retail section of specialty products. Yard serves on the board of numerous philanthropic organizations and is a driving force of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP).
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The other inductees this year are Edward Behr, editor and publisher of The Art of Eating; New Orleans chef John Besh; Momofuku chef David Chang; food writer Barry Estabrook; and Paul Kahan, the Chicago chef and restaurateur. The six will be honored at the James Beard Awards in New York City on May 5th. Congrats to all, and a special congrats to Sherry Yard.