James Beard After-Party Recap @ Big Star

Katherine Flynn

HOLY COW we had SO much fun getting together with long time #apronsquad rockstar Paul Kahan and one of our besties Jesse Tyler Ferguson to throw a HUGE party for all the 2017 James Beard winners. Paul is the head honcho behind One Off Hospitality and the brains behind Big Star - taqueria meets whiskey and beer bar in Chicago. It was time for all these go-getters, doers, and culinary wizards to celebrate their hard-earned accomplishments that they dedicate their heart and soul to every single freaking day.

Photo: Melissa Blackmon @melissa_blackmon

It truly felt like we were all just hanging out in someone’s backyard. All the most incredible people kicking ass in the food world just being human beings together, it didn’t matter who won, who runs what restaurant, or who comes from what background.

Photo: Melissa Blackmon @melissa_blackmon

Even though all the winners already received their awards, Jesse and I decided they needed a little something extra to say congratulations. Because, why not? So, naturally we ran around the whole night with a bag of confetti and threw it all over the winners. It was absolute awesome chaos! Sorry if we got confetti in your margarita!! The servers at the event were decked out in our bright Lemon Bistro aprons.  It was an amazing mish mash of colors and personality.

Photo: Melissa Blackmon @melissa_blackmon

Because we all LOVE ice cream and wanted this to be like a big kid’s party, we ended the night with an ice cream social courtesy of Jeni’s Ice Cream and pastry chef Dana Cre. And what do you get when you pile all these incredible legends and kitchen hooligans in a photobooth? The results are SO SO good!!! Here are a few favorites from our friends at Fotio.

Photos: Fotio 

And of course, we want to give a shoutout to all of the James Beard winners - you guys are our inspiration to keep grinding each and every day!! These awards honor all the hustle, late nights, and hours spent on the line to push your limits and make your dreams a reality. The camaraderie that is formed in a kitchen can’t be compared to anything else and we are so insanely grateful to be part of YOUR journey. From every restaurant and chef who celebrated with us that night, these awards are the biggies and you guys did it! You are the ones that make us look good and we are so incredibly proud to be surrounded by such talented and badass dreamers. We can all take some notes from James Beard himself that working together and having each other’s backs, in and outside the kitchen, are always good ideas. And a HUGE congratulations to our fellow #apronsquad member, Rick Bayless’ Chicago restaurant Topolobampo for taking home Outstanding Restaurant of the Year. "Restaurants are always ensembles.... It's not one person." Well said, Chef!!

Photo: Patrick Janelle @aguynamedpatrick

ALSO, we like to think the Met Gala had nothing on us with Jesse’s customized H&B apron complete with red tulle. Our first couture apron but probably not our last!!