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April 5-11, 2006

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Bearded with Pleasure

By Gretchen Giles

Remember, you read it here last! With no regard to regularity, we do eventually read some of those press releases littering the in box. Sometimes the small shocks of pleasure make it all worthwhile, as when we see to our great pleasure that genius from the North Bay once again darn near dominates nominations in the annual James Beard Awards, to be held May 8 in New York.

Named in honor of the late and esteemed cookbook author and founding foodie, the awards emanate from the prestigious foundation established in Beard's memory. One award already public includes notice that Sue Conley and Peggy Smith of Cowgirl Creamery in Pt. Reyes Station have been inducted into the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America, having now given over a decades' worth of cheesy goodness to the world. Linda Carucci, the Julia Child Director of Culinary Programs at Napa's COPIA, has been nominated in the General Cookbook category for her outstanding insiders tome, Cooking Secrets for Real World Cooks (Chronicle; $22.95).

The Napa photography and writing team of Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio traveled the world investigating what a week's worth of food means to a typical family from everywhere, and have been nominated in the Writings on Food category for their Hungry Planet: What the World Eats (Ten Speed; $40). Petaluma resident Leslie Sbrocco, a wine expert who focuses on making wine easy for all and accessible to women, competes in the local television category for her KQED program Check, Please!

Meanwhile, it comes as little surprise that Thomas Keller's French Laundry in Yountville is poised to earn props in the Outstanding Restaurant category; his Per Se resto in New York won Best New Restaurant from the Beard Foundation last year. Furthermore, French Laundry chef Corey Lee has been nominated in the Rising Star Chef category for those under 30.

One town over, in Yountville, Dan Duckhorn of Duckhorn Vineyards is in the running to receive an Outstanding Wine Service nod and Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani's Terra in the running to win Outstanding Service Award. Fingers crossed and best wishes to all nominated! We'll aim to report on the winners once we clean out the in box again. Heck, we'll make a point of it.

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