The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts announced that Danny Meyer, CEO and Founder of Union Square Hospitality Group, is the recipient of the third annual Julia Child Award. Meyer, the first recipient who is a restaurateur rather than a chef, will receive the Award at the National Museum of American History during a gala on October 26. The Award is accompanied by a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to Share Our Strength, a food-related non-profit selected by Meyer.
“The trustees of the Foundation are delighted by the Jury’s selection of Danny Meyer for this prestigious honor. Their choice underscores the spirit and purpose of the Award to recognize those who continue to make significant contributions to American society through food. Danny demonstrates that you do not have to be a chef to make an impact. His innovative approach to dining and hospitality, like that of Julia, has been both ground-breaking and influential in changing the way America eats and drinks,” says Eric W. Spivey, chairman of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.
Meyer was selected by an independent jury for his accomplished work as a restaurateur, business innovator, author, philanthropist and mentor. Meyer, a longtime supporter of hunger relief initiatives, has chosen Share Our Strength to receive the $50,000 Award grant, where he serves on the board. Founded in 1984 by siblings Bill and Debbie Shore, Share Our Strength is a national non-profit organization that through its No Kid Hungry campaign seeks to end child hunger in America by connecting children to effective nutrition programs. The organization will use the grant to help fulfill this long-term goal.
“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by The Julia Child Foundation as a recipient of this prestigious award. Julia Child was the single greatest culinary icon that my generation looked up to, and it’s hard to imagine an award tied to anyone else’s name that could possibly mean more,” says Meyer. “When I think of Julia, I think of joy – someone who cooked, taught, and consumed food with elation. My hope is that our restaurants convey that same sense and spirit of joy both to those we work with and to those we serve.”
The Award will be presented to Meyer by Financial Times’ restaurant critic and food writer Nick Lander. Additionally, the evening will feature Calvin Trillin as MC along with supporting presentations from Ruth Reichl, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm during the gala, kicking off the third annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend. The gala, held at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. on October 26, 2017, supports the Museum’s American Food History project. Additionally, the menu for the evening will be overseen by Union Square Cafe’s Executive Chef, Carmen Quagliata. Click here to purchase tickets.
Created by Julia Child, the Foundation is one of the leading grant-giving private foundations solely dedicated to supporting the field of gastronomy and the culinary arts. In 2015, the Foundation established the Julia Child Award to continue to foster Julia’s legacy, while also honoring an individual who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks. (The previous recipients were Jacques Pépin and Rick Bayless.)