2019 AFJ Awards Competition: The Winners




Amanda C. Miller, Executive Director, afj.amanda@gmail.com

CiCi Williamson, Awards Manager, 2019AFJawards@gmail.com


Greenville, SC -- The Association of Food Journalists announced the winners in its 2019 awards competition at a ceremony in Greenville, SC this evening. The awards, which recognized excellence in 15 categories of food journalism, received 373 entries. Started in 1986, AFJ’s awards competition is the oldest contest for food journalists. 

CiCi Williamson managed the judging process with assistance from AFJ’s executive director, Amanda C. Miller.

Finalists were announced in May; first-, second- and third-place winners were disclosed at AFJ @ euphoria tonight at a reception co-emceed by Kathleen Purvis and Hanna Raskin.  First-place winners receive a $300 cash prize.

The Association of Food Journalists is a professional organization founded in 1971 and dedicated to preserving and perpetuating responsible food journalism across media platforms. 

The winners: 

Best Food Essay 

  1. Jackie Summers, Plate Magazine, “Rice is at the overlap of poverty and comfort

  2. Ruby Tandoh, Eater, “Sugartime. How a taste for sweetness, developed for survival, became a stand-in for everything good — and evil — about our culture

  3. Anna Roth, Eater, “Cloudy with a chance of IKEA Meatballs” 

Best Food Column

  1. Tanya Sichynsky, The Washington Post

  2. Nik Sharma, San Francisco Chronicle

  3. Daniel Holzman and Matt Rodbard, Taste

Best Restaurant Criticism 

  1. Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post

  2. Eve Hill-Agnus, D Magazine

  3. Brad Johnson, Orange County Register

Best Writing on Beer, Wine or Spirits

  1. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "The lost civilization of California wine: Ruins"

  2. Tom Zoellner, Phoenix New Times Magazine, "Arizona’s 16 Most Iconic Bars: Character Plus Longevity Equals a Classic

  3. Emily Timberlake, Taste, "Pizza Pizza, Bubbles Bubbles"

Best Story on Food Policy or Food Issues

  1. Barry Estabrook, Eating Well, “This Man Wants You to Eat More Meat” 

  2. Elizabeth Dunn, Medium, “The Hidden Struggle to Save the Coffee Industry From Disaster

  3. Liza Gross, Reveal in partnership with the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN), “Scientists warned this weedkiller would destroy crops. EPA approved it anyway.

Best Food Business Story 

  1. Brett Anderson, The Times-Picayune, “Alon Shaya gets a fresh start, with a focus on doing better by his employees

  2. Elizabeth Dunn, The New Yorker, “The Ex-Noma Chef Who Wants to Make School-Food Reform Big Business

  3. Joe Fassler, The New Food Economy, “Foreign beef can legally be labeled ‘Product of U.S.A.’ It’s killing America’s grass-fed industry."

Best Food/Travel Story 

  1. Gustavo Arellano, Eater, “The Central Valley Is the Heart and Soul of California

  2. Jason Wilson, The New York Times, “In Spanish Basque Country, Sampling Cider and An Ancient Ritual

  3. Kinsey Gidick, Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, “Your Guide to Charleston’s Best Barbecue

Best Food Coverage

  1. J.M. Hirsch and Albert Stumm, Milk Street Magazine

  2. Christine Morris, The Boston Globe

  3. Kate Cox, The New Food Economy

Best Newspaper Food Feature

  1. Chris Malloy, Phoenix New Times, “A Journey to the Heart of New Arizonan Cuisine

  2. Brett Anderson, The New York Times, “Tokyo in Texas: Distinctive Japanese Food is Thriving in Austin

  3. Mark Vamos, The Dallas Morning News (annual Palate magazine), "Viet-Cajun restaurants boil up as D-FW’s hottest melting pot trend"

Best Non-Newspaper Food Feature

  1. Hannah Agran and Andrew Zimmern, Midwest Living, “This Man Knows Good Chicken

  2. Steve Hoffman, The Growler Magazine, "Smoke and No Mirrors: The effort and integrity behind Northern Waters Smokehaus"

  3. Steve Hoffman, The Growler Magazine, "Tradition & Transcendence: The modest virtuosity of Shigeyuki Furukawa” 

Best Special Food Project 

  1. Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post, "Mass appeal/A taste of the nation’s most popular restaurants"

  2. Danielle Renwick, The New Food Economy, “The Hands That Feed Us: Immigrant food workers, in their own words

  3. Rachel Tepper Paley, Mic, "The James Beard awards might be getting more diverse but these graphs show there's a long way to go"

Best Audio Food Journalism 

  1. Madelyn Beck, Illinois Newsroom, “Weekend at the International Horseradish Festival

  2. Marion Kane, Marion Kane: Food Sleuth, “Sistering Feeds Body and Soul

  3. Emily Spicer, Mike Sutter, Chuck Blount and Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, “Poor Manners, Good Fats, Pellet Smokers

Best Video 

  1. McGraw Wolfman and Murilo Ferreira, Eater, "Tokyo’s Tuna King Reigns at Tsukiji Fish Market"

  2. Justin Lundstrom, Thrillist, "Ramen Pizza: Is It Actually Pizza? || Really Dough?

  3. Justin Lundstrom, Thrillist, "Timothy DeLaGhetto Reviews Philly's Secret Food || InstaChef

Best Food Photo

  1. Blaine Moats, Midwest Living, "Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

  2. Carson Downing, Midwest Living, "Chicken Carnitas Tacos"

  3. Melanie Albert, Natural Awakenings Magazine, Phoenix & Northern Arizona, "Local Arizona Spring Veggies"

Best Writing on Food, Student Division 

  1. Jared Kaufman, Vox Magazine, Columbia Missourian, "Catfishing continues to be a generational pastime"

  2. Tayler Brown, Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, produced by Arizona State University, "Native American farmers plan moves to global market, greater sustainability"

  3. Forest Wilson and Rachel Lorenz, The Colorado Independent, "In time of plenty, students on Colorado campuses are hungry"

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