Oscars equivalent? All about the James Beard award that Erwan Heussaff won

June 5, 2023 - 6:55 PM
Erwan Heussaff_James Beard Awards
Food content creator Erwan Heussaff in the United States for the 2023 James Beard Foundation Awards in this photo from his Instagram on June 4, 2023; close-up shot of the 2023 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for Social Media Account won by Erwan (erwan/Instagram)

Food content creator Erwan Heussaff just bagged an award from the “Oscars” of the culinary world.

This is the James Beard Foundation Awards, where the celebrity cook won in the social media category of its broadcast media division.

Erwan announced this achievement by sharing a photo of him in a barong with a medal hanging from his neck.

“I’m still shaking. We made it!!” he exclaimed in an Instagram post on Sunday, June 4. It was accompanied by emojis of the Philippine flag.

Erwan tagged the accounts of the James Beard Foundation, his food-oriented digital video channel FEATR, and his production company The Fat Kid Inside Studios in the caption.


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A post shared by Erwan Heussaff (@erwan)

Host-actress Anne Curtis, his wife, also dedicated a post for him where she detailed how much he and his team work to create content on their platform.

“I’ve seen how passionate you are about sharing stories of Filipino food and the culture and [the] deeper story behind each ingredient,” she wrote on the same day Erwan announced his achievement.

“You and the @tfkistudios team work so hard… Traveling all over the country to find the core and masters of each dish and ingredient, whilst keeping it as authentic as possible. Congratulations on this amazing feat!” Anne continued.

“I can’t wait to see more stories that are faithfully told, not only about Filipino cuisine but also about the spirit, communities and culture behind it!” she added.

“Mabuhay @tfkistudios @featrmedia and @erwan for being recognised by @beardfoundation (Philippine flag emoji) Dahlia and I are so proud of you @erwan!” the actress said with a white heart emoji.

Dahlia is their three-year-old daughter.

Erwan was also congratulated by his family and friends in the comments section, which include celebrities such as sister-in-law Jasmin Curtis-Smith, his sister Solenn Heussaff, Matteo Guidicelli, Iza Calzado, Isabelle Daza, and Bea Alonzo.

The restaurateur has long been creating food-related content on social media and YouTube with his digital video production company The Fat Kid Inside, which was founded in 2013.

Under the same company, FEATR creates content that highlights Filipino cuisine, culture, and travel.

In his acceptance speech, Erwan was quoted as saying that his goal is to make Filipino food “the next big thing.”

He added that the James Beard Award “motivates” him to make it happen further.

“Anywhere you’ll go, you’ll meet Filipinos, especially in the Food and Beverage industry. In fact, one of our largest revenue streams is from a country with a lot of Filipinos working overseas,” Erwan said.

“Yet not a lot is known about our culture or our food. Tons of people have said Filipino food is the ‘next big thing,’ and I’m obsessed with trying to make it the next big thing,” he added.

“And so for me, this means absolutely everything ’cause it just motivates me further to keep shining a lot on our beautiful country, beautiful people, and the food that is made in our kitchens. So, thank you very much. I appreciate it,” the restaurateur said.

The celebrity chef won the 2023 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for Social Media Account, besting content creators Andrew Huang, Ewa Huang, and Jeromy Ko of “Nom Life,” and Kalamata’s Kitchen Staff behind “Kalamatas Kitchen – Of Course It’s Kid Friendly.”

The James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media division recognizes works in English that covers food and beverage topics and appears widely for the first time in the United States in 2022.

The award division considers works from digital and terrestrial media which include radio, television broadcasts, podcasts, documentaries, online sites, and social media.

Its Social Media Account category, under which Heussaff won, “recognizes excellence in a single food-related post, or compilation of up to three posts, that clearly represents the intention of the Facebook page, Twitter account, TikTok account, Instagram feed, or other social media format.”

The judging criteria for this category include the entry’s content, originality, execution, and impact.

The award will go to the individual or team behind the account or post.

For Erwan, this was through his Instagram account with the username @erwan.

All about the award  

The James Beard Foundation, which gives out the coveted award to chefs and restaurants in the United States, is a non-profit organization.

It aims to celebrate, support, and elevate people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability.

It also pushes new standards in the restaurant industry to “create a future where all have the opportunity to thrive.”

Established over 30 years ago, the foundation highlights the centrality of food culture in people’s daily lives and is committed to supporting “a resilient and flourishing industry that honors its diverse communities.”

Its awards are dubbed the “Oscars of the food world” since it recognizes the best chefs, bakers, restaurants, bars, and more in the US food industry.

Oscars pertain to the Academy Awards, the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry in the US and worldwide.

Past winners of the James Beard Awards include chef Patrick O’Connell, known as the “the Pope of American cuisine” who founded six-time James Beard awardee The Inn at Little Washington which offers gourmet dining.

According to its website, the mission of the James Beard Awards is to “recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.”

It was named after James Beard, anointed as the “Dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954.

The foundation said he laid the groundwork for the food revolution that has placed the United States at the forefront of global gastronomy.