It's 4:23 a.m. in New York City and I'm feeling wonderful staring at a lump in a hotel room bed. Sleeping beneath this lump of white pillows and a dark plaid blanket is the best chef in America. or so said the James Beard Foundation last night.
There's no Cal Tech instrument that could measure the outpouring of love felt when Chicago's Paul Kahan announced that Nancy Silverton had won the 2014 award for best chef in America, but a social historian said the only two comparable events of mass love in modern America were in 1938 when Seabiscuit rallied the nation by beating War Admiral in a match race and in 1967 during the Summer of Love. And like the little crooked-leg horse, everybody in America's chef community feels admiration. inspiration and warmth toward sleeping Nancy.
"Nancy stands as the shining light," said Sherry Yard, who was honored last night with a Who's Who Award. "Nancy's victory as best chef is a victory for pastry chefs all over the world."
The one regret I had last night was I wasn't at Mozza in Los Angeles to be with the staff when heard. But that regret is slight. They'll be a party to celebrate Nancy's victory there soon enough.