Armenian Writers Nominated for Top Culinary Award

Raffi Khatchadourian

Two writers of Armenian descent have been nominated for James Beard Awards for their writings about food.  The awards, colloquially known as the Oscars of the culinary world, honor excellence in cuisine, both regionally and nationally.  Along with the best restaurants and chefs, the awards recognize the best food writers as well.

Contending in the category of Magazine Feature Writing With Recipes is Francine Maroukian for the collaborative piece “How Men Eat,” published in Esquire.

Raffi Khatchadourian is one of three nominees in the category of Magazine Feature Writing Without Recipes for his article “The Taste Makers.”  It appeared in the New Yorker, where Khatchadourian is a staff writer.  

“The Taste Makers” explores the world of food flavoring.  In one passage, Khatchadourian describes competition between beverage companies as the Great Flavor Rush:  “The fight over white spaces in the supermarket aisles has grown so furious that grocery shelves are lined with bottles promising baroque exoticism:  energy drinks and waters laced with kiwi-dragonfruit, or hibiscus-orange, or jackfruit-guava, or agave-melon, or clove-cardamom-cinnamon.”

The winners will be announced in May.

Two years ago, Carrie Nahabedian, who cites her mother and grandmother as the sources of the Armenian influence in her cooking, captured a James Beard Award as Best Chef of the Great Lakes region.  She had garnered two earlier nominations for her work at her Chicago restaurant, Naha.

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