Bone marrow at Ashley Christensen's Death and Taxes restaurant in Raleigh. / <a href=''>Death and Taxes Facebook</a> Bone marrow at Ashley Christensen's Death and Taxes restaurant in Raleigh. / <a href=''>Death and Taxes Facebook</a>

This Year’s Eater Awards Have an Activist Edge

Eater just released its list of 2017 Eater Award winners, and an unsurprising theme runs through most of this year’s national winners: resistance. Unlike its list of essential restaurants, which aims to comment on the state of dining in America today, the Eater Awards doles out prizes to the “the diverse group of chefs and restaurants that truly made an impact in the culinary world of 2017.”

In addition to awards in the 24 cities it covers, Eater presents a list of national awards — and while most are expected if you’ve been paying attention, all are worth the praise. The list starts with the Eater Icon, rightly bestowed upon José Andrés for his unrelenting support of Puerto Ricans post-hurricane, and his vocal criticism of the government’s response (or lack thereof). In conjunction with the organization he founded in 2010, World Central Kitchen, he helped to serve three million meals to hurricane victims. And he’s still working.

Chef of the Year, Ashley Christensen, of Raleigh, North Carolina, didn’t win the title on her work in the kitchen alone. In fact, it was her work outside of the kitchen, Eater says, that earned her the title. Her initiatives included taking a public stand against the state’s bathroom bill earlier this year and speaking out against sexism, “putting her community values into practice.”

Other categories featuring winners with progressive points of views: Cookbook of the Year (“Feed the Resistance,” by Julia Turshen, donated proceeds to the ACLU); Empire Builder of the Year (Indianapolis restaurateur Martha Hoover, who has “admirably infused a social justice mission into her restaurants”); and Reporter of the Year (Brett Anderson of the Times-Picayune, who broke the John Besh story that has lead to both revelations and actual progress weeding out sexual harassers in restaurants). Chrissy Teigan takes honors as Media Personality of the Year, recognized by Eater for her “anything goes approach to food.” There’s no mention of her Twitter account, which famously criticizes our President, but… we know.

View the full list of national winners below and the city-specific winners (including readers’ choices for most categories) on Eater.

Eater IconJosé Andrés
Stone-Cold StunnerAvroKo for Eight Tables (San Francisco)
Chef of the YearAshley Christensen
Best New RestaurantJuneBaby (Seattle)
Spectacle of the YearThe Grill
#Brand of the YearKFC
Cookbook of the YearFeed the Resistance by Julia Turshen
One to WatchDiana Davila (Chicago)
Empire Builder of the YearMartha Hoover (Patachou Inc. – Indianapolis)
Gamechanger of the YearBrett Anderson (The Times-Picayune)
TV Chef of the YearNancy Silverton
Media Personality of the YearChrissy Teigen

More from Skift Table