2017 AFJ Awards Competition: The Winners


PHILADELPHIA, P.A. ------ The Association of Food Journalists announced 48 winners in its 2017 awards competition at a ceremony here Sept. 13. The awards, which recognized excellence in 13 categories of food writing and editing, visuals and multimedia, received 289 entries.

Started in 1986, AFJ’s awards competition is the oldest still-functioning contest for food journalists.

Nancy J. Stohs, food editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, chaired the 2017 competition. AFJ’s executive director, Amanda C. Miller, managed the judging process.

Finalists were announced in June; first-, second- and third-place winners were disclosed at the association’s annual conference. First-place winners receive a $300 cash prize.

In addition, Marian Burros was awarded the association's 2017 Carol DeMasters Award. Named for the association's longtime executive director, the award is given each year for service to food journalism. Burros, the retired food writer for The New York Times, was a founding member of the association. Previous winners have included Dr. Kimberly Wilmot Voss, John T. Edge and Dr. Jessica Harris.

The Association of Food Journalists is a professional organization founded in 1971 and dedicated to preserving and perpetuating responsible food journalism across media platforms. More than 60 of its 225-plus members gathered in Philadelphia Sept. 13-15 for the group’s annual conference.

The winners:

Best Newspaper Food Coverage, above 155,000 circulation:

  1. The Washington Post, Joe Yonan, food and dining editor
  2. The Boston Globe, Devra First, food editor
  3. San Francisco Chronicle, Paolo Lucchesi, food editor

Best Newspaper Food Coverage, below 155,000 circulation:

  1. San Antonio Express-News, Edmund Tijerina, food and drink editor
  2. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nancy Stohs, food, home and garden editor
  3. Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Kelly Brant, food editor

Best Newspaper Food Feature, under 150,000 circulation:

  1. Kathleen Purvis, Charlotte News & Observer, “Why does sugar in cornbread divide races in the South?”
  2. Kathleen Purvis, Charlotte News & Observer, “Observer food editor’s take on Gwyneth Paltrow’s book: Pile of goop
  3. Andrea Weigl, Raleigh News & Observer, “The true story of a chef's chef"

Best Newspaper Food Feature, 150,001 to 225,000 circulation:

  1. Carlos Frias, The Miami Herald, “Night Owl Cookie Co. feeds Miami's cookie monsters
  2. Carlos Frias, The Miami Herald, “How a firefighter’s dying wish helped start one of Miami’s best pie shops
  3. Dominic Armato, The Arizona Republic, “Chawanmushi Magic

Best Newspaper Food Feature, above 225,000 circulation:

  1. Greg Morago, The Houston Chronicle, “In praise of the real-deal corn tortilla
  2. Laura Reiley, The Tampa Bay Times, “"For St. Petersburg's Dr. BBQ, the journey to fame was low and slow"
  3. Paolo Lucchesi, The San Francisco Chronicle, "Chef Corey Lee's SFMOMA restaurant breaks the rules"

Best Newspaper Special Food Project

  1. Tampa Bay Times, “Farm to Fable,” Laura Reiley
  2. San Francisco Chronicle, “Seafood’s New Normal,” Tara Duggan
  3. San Francisco Chronicle, “The Rice Issue,” Kimberly Chua, Rahul Mukherjee, Lucio Villa

Best Non-Newspaper Food Feature

  1. Cara Strickland, JStor Daily, “Why Was Turkish Delight C.S. Lewis’s Guilty Pleasure?
  2. Peter Robison and Vernon Silver, Bloomberg, “Is American Olive Oil About to Have Its Moment?
  3. Liz Miller, Feast Magazine, “How One Family is Pulling Saltwater Taffy Back Into Local Food Culture

Best Food Column

  1. Tamar Haspel, The Washington Post
  2. Jim Shahin, The Washington Post
  3. Leah Eskin, Chicago Tribune

Best Restaurant Criticism

  1. Bill Addison, Eater
  2. Ryan Sutton, Eater
  3. Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post

Best Food Essay

  1. Anna Roth, San Francisco Chronicle, "Burritos, remixed: When a San Francisco classic gets a new look"
  2. Mikki Kendall, Eater, “Hot Sauce in Her Bag
  3. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Eater, “The 24-Year-Old-Coca-Cola Virgin

Best Story on Food Policy or Food Issues

  1. Hanna Raskin, The Post and Courier, “Feeding the prison system: Some inmates buy way around ‘institutional cooking’”
  2. Jonathan Kauffman, San Francisco Chronicle, “Restaurants finding workers among the disadvantaged
  3. TIE: Tom Philpott, Mother Jones, “How Factory Farms Play Chicken With Antibiotics” and Nancy Stohs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Bringing Wisconsin fish to local tables

Best Food Business Story

  1. Maddie Oatman, Mother Jones, “A Fish Out of Water
  2. Roxanne Khamsi, The New York Times Magazine, “Is It Possible to Make a Less Allergenic Peanut?
  3. Kathleen Purvis, The Charlotte Observer, “Can a S.C. barbecue family rise above their father’s history of racism?

Best Food/Travel Story

  1. Matt Rodbard, Saveur, “Looking for Jangs
  2. Bill Addison, Eater, “I want crab. Pure Maryland crab.

Best Writing on Beer, Wine or Spirits

  1. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, “Wine Country’s unsung hero: Chuy Ordaz
  2. Steve Hoffman, Growler magazine, “Minnesota Spoon: Wine pairing with Jill Mott
  3. M. Carrie Allan, The Washington Post, “The born-in-Detroit cocktail that has spawned countless variations

Best Digital Food Presentation

  1. Gary He & Matt Buchanan, Eater, “Twilight of the Four Seasons
  2. Becky Krystal & Alex Baldinger, The Washington Post, “Here’s the amazingly simple path to incredible homemade bagels
  3. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Beer Near: A Guide to Wisconsin Breweries

Best Writing on Food - Student Division

  1. Joe McCarty, The University of Nebraska, writing for Nebraska Mosaic, “The Business of Food
  2. Carin Tunney, Michigan State University writing for Great Lakes Echo, “Can tiny livestock solve big hunger?
  3. Emily Case, The University of Nebraska, writing for Nebraska Mosaic, “Food as a Cultural Oasis

For more information about AFJ’s awards program, see afjonline.com