Interview: After historic James Beard win, St. Pete native Edouardo Jordan reflects

Edouardo Jordan didn’t think he stood a chance. He was up against some very strong chefs, and he knew it.

“I’ve eaten at all these restaurants,” he said by phone on Tuesday.

His best friend forced him to write a speech for the James Beard Awards, just in case. It was a good call.

The “Academy Awards of food” were Monday night in Chicago. One shining triumph for Florida was St. Petersburg native Jordan, 38, who took home two of the evening’s biggest prizes, both for Best New Restaurant in the country for his Southern star JuneBaby in Seattle as well as for Best Chef: Northwest for himself.

It is the first time a restaurant helmed by an African-American chef has won for best new restaurant; he similarly was the first African-American to make the cover of the annual Food & Wine

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