The James Beard Foundation is proud to announce an eminent panel of jurors that will serve as the judging authority for the 2015 Restaurant Design Awards. This panel invites restaurants, architects, interior designers, and graphic designers to submit their projects for consideration for the 2015 Restaurant Design Awards. The distinguished 2015 jury includes Michael Bauer, Executive Food and Wine Editor at San Francisco Chronicle; Kevin Boehm, co-owner of Boka Restaurant Group; Winka Dubbeldam, principal at Archi-Tectonics and Chair and Professor of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania; Mark Jensen, principal, Jensen Architects and 2014 James Beard Restaurant Design Winner in the category for 76 and over; and Gail Simmons, Food & Wine Special Projects Director and “Top Chef” Judge.


The Restaurant Design Awards were established by the James Beard Foundation in 1994 and have become highly coveted by visionary designers nationwide. Any restaurant or design project that was completed or redone in North America since January 2012 is eligible, and the deadline for entry is Saturday, January 31, 2015. The Restaurant Design Awards are comprised of two categories, Restaurants of 76 seats and over; and Restaurants of 75 seats and under. As of 2014, Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, and all other design aspects of a restaurant are now considered comprehensively in each submission for restaurant design.


The Restaurant Design Awards Committee is made up of architects, interior designers, and graphic designers. The committee chooses the jurors who will do the actual judging and oversees the process. The 2015 committee includes James Biber, principal of Biber Architects in New York City; David Darling, co-principal of Aidlin Darling Design in San Francisco and a past JBF winner; Dung Ngo, Senior Editor for Architecture & Design at Rizzoli International Publications, New York City; Kristina O’Neal, partner of the James Beard Restaurant Design Award-winning firm AvroKO in New York City; and Chee Pearlman, design editor, curator and principal of the Chee Company, Inc. in New York City.


“Design can be as important to the restaurant experience as food, wine, and service,” explained James Biber, chair of Restaurant Design Awards committee. “Each year the restaurant designs submitted get better and better, and in 2015 we have an amazing jury to evaluate these, each a distinguished member of the food and design community. The Restaurant Design Awards have become the place to look for the best designed restaurants each year.”


“The James Beard Restaurant Design Awards honor the artistic impact a restaurant’s space and atmosphere has on the complete dining experience,” says Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. “Our Foundation is delighted to have a distinguished and talented group of experts serving as our Restaurant Design Awards jury and on the committee.”


All those interested in submitting projects for consideration should visit http://awards.jamesbeard.org/ for the complete guidelines. The nominees will be announced at a Nominees Breakfast on March 24, 2015 with the winners named at the Awards Ceremony on May 4, 2015 in Chicago.


Additionally, those interested in being considered for Awards within the Broadcast Media and Journalism categories can submit projects through Friday, January 9, 2015. Items to be considered include journalism articles on food, beverages, nutrition, and culinary travel published in 2014, in addition to webcasts, radio, and television shows aired in the last calendar year. Full submission criteria for these Awards can be found at http://awards.jamesbeard.org/.


On Wednesday, February 18, 2015, the Foundation will announce the semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards at a live press conference at the James Beard House in New York City.


On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, the Foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories during a press breakfast. Nominations will be announced live via the Foundation’s Twitter feed at twitter.com/beardfoundation.


On Friday, April 24, 2015, the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards Dinner, an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists, will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.


The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will take place at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 4, 2015. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards including Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.


Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.


The 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards are presented by Lexus; in association with HMS Host, Mariano’s and The State of Illinois; and the following partners:  Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, BACARDÍ 8®, Lenox Tableware and Gifts, True Refrigeration; Supporting Sponsors: Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water, Breville, Delta Air Lines®, Goose Island Beer Company, Lavazza, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Valrhona; Gala Reception Sponsors: Celebrity Cruises®, Ecolab, Tanqueray No. TEN®, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts; Additional Support: Chefwear, VerTerra Dinnerware.


The James Beard Foundation gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Chicago Department of Aviation, Choose Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association.