James Beard Award Update: An Early Win for Seattle

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We've already talked about all the local chefs and restaurateurs who got named in this year's semifinal list from the James Beard Foundation. And we've already discussed what kind of chances they might stand as the big list gets winnowed down to the finalists.

But Seattle has already scored one early win with the announcement of the James Beard Foundation's Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian of the Year awards. The Lifetime Achievement medal went to Kevin Zraly, a "renowned wine educator, author of the best-selling Windows on the World Complete Wine Course book and former James Beard Award winner" who works out of New York City, operating the Windows on the World Wine School.

And the Humanitarian award?

Well, that went to our very own FareStart, "A community that transforms lives by empowering homeless and disadvantaged men, women, and families to achieve self-sufficiency through life skills, job training and employment in the food service industry," according to the JBF.

FareStart was founded in 1988 by chef David Lee. Though originally a for-profit program called Common Meals that operated out of small church kitchens, in 1992 it found a home large enough to serve as a training facility and began educating those it existed to serve. Again, from the JBF:

"Over the past 19 years, FareStart has provided opportunities for nearly 5,000 people to transform their lives, while also serving over 4.5 million meals to disadvantaged men, women, and children. In 2010 alone, FareStart provided training opportunities to over 260 people, provided referral services to over 700 homeless individuals, graduated more than 130 individuals and at the same time increased business sales by 10%. More importantly, FareStart's graduates are getting hired and continuing their education, and last year, over 80% of adult graduates secured employment while 80% of youth graduates either gained employment or went back to school."

To read all about both Kevin Zraly and FareStart, click on through to the official press release right here.

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