No matter the result, a Charleston culinary artist believes he will always feel like a winner.
Chef Paul Smith, along with four other chefs from southeast United States, were nominated for a James Beard Award, considered to be “the academy awards for chefs.”
The James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards took place Monday night at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. It was the first time a West Virginia culinary artist was nominated for the title of Best Chef.
Although Chef Paul did not win the award, he felt honored that he was even considered and made it as far as he did.
“I’ve had friends that have been nominated, but never in my wildest dreams would I think that I would be nominated, let alone be in the top 20 and top five,” said the chef.
The support and love that Smith received this week were something that he said nearly made him choke up. Jokingly, Smith said he had to get a mobile charger for his phone to keep up with all the texts and messages he received on social media.
“I am not exaggerating I have received hundreds and hundreds of messages,” Smith said. “It gives me goosebumps and chills just thinking about it. I could not be more happy right now.”
And again, despite not winning, the Charleston chef said he’s always felt like a winner because of his partners and support system.
“It goes to show you that one person and one group of restaurants and a family like ours can really make a difference,” said Smith. “No place is better than West Virginia.
A veiwing party was held for the event at the Capital Market Monday evening. Smith said they sold out their 500 tickets they gave out for the party.
Chef Terry Koval from The Deer and The Dove in Decatur, GA was the winner of the award for Best Chef: Southeast.