As usual, AAN members are well-represented in the list of finalists for the 2010 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards, which recognize excellence in food writing. The L.A. Weekly's Jonathan Gold and Westword's Jason Sheehan (who is now at Seattle Weekly) are both nominated for the Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Reviews, and Gold is also a finalist in the Writing on Spirits, Wine or Beer category. Elsewhere, the Newspaper Feature Writing category is comprised only of AAN members, with two Chicago Reader pieces and one from the Village Voice vying for the top prize. Westword nabs another finalist in the Newspaper Feature Writing About Restaurants and/or Chefs, where it is joined as a finalist by Washington City Paper. And last, but certainly not least, the Houston Press is a finalist in the Multimedia Food Feature category. Winners will be announced on May 2.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weeklies Nominated for a Number of James Beard Awards

Jason Sheehan's Cooking Dirty has been named one of TIME's Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2009. "It's a paradox of the post-Bourdain era: chef memoirs are trendy, but none of the chefs writing them have the freakish combination of cooking and writing talent that made Anthony Bourdain a star," Lev Grossman writes. "But Jason Sheehan comes damn close, and he gives the genre his own distinctive seasoning." Sheehan recently made the move from Westword to the Seattle Weekly.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Food Writer’s Book Makes TIME’s Year-End Top 10 List

Jason Sheehan's Cooking Dirty: A Story of Life, Sex, Love and Death in the Kitchen was released late last month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Sheehan says the book is about "the often wonderful, sometimes terrible things that result from sticking four or five or ten poorly socialized men together for hours at a stretch in a small steel box filled with knives and fire." National Public Radio is just one of the media outlets to have sung the book's praises thus far, including it on its summer nonfiction reading list (and running a lengthy excerpt). "If chefs are the new rock stars, Jason Sheehan is like a grunge guitarist of the old school," John Freeman writes.

Continue ReadingWestword Food Writer’s Book is Released

Former Rocky Mountain Chronicle and Colorado Springs Independent editor Vanessa Martinez was eating lunch on Monday in Denver when a thief made off with her bag, which included cash, credit cards and her ID, which she needed to get into DNC events. After she called her credit card company and found out the guy was already on a spending spree nearby, she headed to the Virgin Megastore where he'd just bought some items. Before she got there, though, she ran into him on the street. "The poor guy couldn't have seen it coming," Westword's Joel Warner writes. "Biff! Bam! Kapow! Martinez punched him in the face, walloped him with his own shopping bag and tore at his shirt. He pulled out her stolen credit cards in surrender, but that didn't stop the fury." The pickpocket was taken into custody, and Martinez got her stuff back shortly after the scuffle. In other DNC-related news, check out this blog post, in which Westword writer Jason Sheehan's takes New York Post columnist Cindy Adams to task for her boneheaded comments about Denver.

Continue ReadingFormer Alt-Weekly Editor Turns into Crime-Fighting Vigilante

AAN members are once again well-represented in the list of finalists for this year's James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards. Robb Walsh of the Houston Press and SF Weekly's Eliza Strickland are both nominated in the Newspaper Feature Writing About Restaurants and/or Chefs category, while Westword's Jason Sheehan is nominated in the Restaurant Reviews category. Winners will be announced June 8 at a reception in New York. The awards recognize and honor excellence and achievement in the culinary arts.

Continue ReadingThree Alt-Weekly Writers Up for James Beard Awards

Jason Sheehan's Whiskey Down: A Story of Love, Sex, Death and Kitchens will chronicle his days in kitchens across the country before he started writing about food rather than making it six years ago, the Rocky Mountain News reports. The manuscript was sold at auction to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an undisclosed amount. "I did really OK; I was very pleased," he says. "I'm one of those writers that hates all of my own stuff, but I really sort of like this book. I liked the chance of hanging out with the younger me again. Also, it's a fantastic book, and everybody should buy 10 or 12 copies."

Continue ReadingWestword Food Writer’s Debut Book Due Out Next Year