In Good Taste

Spike Gjerde Wins James Beard Award

The chef dedicates his win to Baltimore.

By Jane Marion | May 4, 2015, 10:19 pm

-Galdones Photography / James Beard Foundation
In Good Taste

Spike Gjerde Wins James Beard Award

The chef dedicates his win to Baltimore.

By Jane Marion | May 4, 2015, 10:19 pm

-Galdones Photography / James Beard Foundation

Spike Gjerde is bringing his first James Beard award back to Baltimore.

The Woodberry Kitchen chef has won the prestigious James Beard award for Best Chef: Mid Atlantic, one of 10 regional awards given for the culinary competition.

This is the first time a Charm City chef has won the honor since the New York City-based James Beard Foundation started slinging awards in 1991.

"I'm happy for all of us," says Gjerde, speaking by phone from Chicago, where the award's ceremony was held. "My family was here, plus all of the people who've gotten Woodberry to where it is. I can't wait to share it with the rest of my team, and it's great recognition for what's happening in Baltimore."

While Gjerde sat in his seat waiting to hear the results, he had plenty of time to ruminate. "You think about all the reasons we could win and all the reasons we won't," he says laughing. "Like that steak that was undercooked a few weeks ago."

When his category came up, Gjerde says, "I just closed my eyes—it was a magical moment."

Coming off difficult days for Baltimore, Gjerde's award is a win for Charm City, too.

"We were really concerned with what was going on in Baltimore," says Gjerde. "And I carried that out there with me."

Instead of preparing an acceptance speech, Gjerde spoke straight from the heart. "I hadn't written anything down," he recalls, "but I knew what I wanted to say. I wanted to thank everybody, including our guests, and our growers, and our amazing team. I knew that I wanted to end with my family and my wife, and I knew I wanted to say something about Baltimore. It was a daunting moment."

Charlie Gjerde, Spike's big brother, who owns Alexander's Tavern and Papi's in Fells Point, weighs in, too. "It's a little bright spot for Baltimore," says Charlie. "He's as passionate about Baltimore as he is cooking, so I know he's extremely happy to bring the award back home."





Meet The Author
Jane Marion is the food and dining editor for Baltimore, where she covers food, wellness, beauty, and home and garden.


You May Also Like


Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: The Urban Oyster Gets a Home Base

Plus, Sophomore Coffee opens, Raw Bar takes over Boathouse, brewery and distillery laws get updated, and our best bites this week.

Food & Drink

Review: Todd Conner’s

A Steelers fan bar gives way to Baltimore fare.

Food & Drink

Blades of Glory

Want to stay a cut above in the kitchen? Chefs share how.


In Good Taste

How to Get Away With Not Cooking This Easter and Passover

The best places to dine out, and bring in, for the spring holidays.

On The Town

Top Spots to Celebrate National Margarita Day

From on-the-rocks to frozen with salt, here are our picks.

In Good Taste

Diamondback Brewing Debuts Pizza Kitchen

Menu focusing on Neapolitan pizzas and soft pretzels launches this week.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Maryland Legislature Passes Brewery Modernization Act: Plus, new laws will loosen distillery regulations and distribution relationships.

Ten Down-to-Earth Spots to Have a First Date This Spring: Because if the date sucks, at least there’s good food, drinks, and atmosphere.

Open & Shut: Sophomore Coffee; The Urban Oyster; Raw Bar; Smoke: The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

Balti Virtual Partners with Washington Capitals for New Augmented Reality Game: Just in time for the playoffs, the Baltimore company designed augmented reality game Tilt The Ice.

Weird Wine Event to Showcase Maryland’s Most Peculiar Blends: Makers gather to highlight wines made with everything from coffee to fish peppers.