AFJ Awards Competition finalists announced


First-, second- and third-place winners will be announced on Sept. 21, 2016, at a special awards party during AFJ’s annual conference in Seattle.

Finalists below are listed in alphabetical order. More than three finalists in a category indicates one or more ties.

Best Newspaper Food Coverage, below 200,000 circulation:

  • The Kansas City Star, Jill Wendholt Silva, food editor and restaurant critic
  • The News & Observer, Andrea Weigl, food editor
  • San Antonio Express-News, Julie Cohen, food and drink editor

Best Newspaper Food Coverage, above 200,000 circulation:

  • The Boston Globe, Devra First, food editor
  • San Francisco Chronicle, Paolo Lucchesi, food editor
  • The Washington Post, Joe Yonan, food and dining editor

Best Newspaper Food Feature, below 100,000 circulation:

  • Alice Levitt, Seven Days, “Sorry, Charlie: The Life, Death and Afterlife of a Vermont Steer”
  • Hanna Raskin, The Post and Courier, “Jewish cooks break from tradition by using Lowcountry fish in holiday gefilte dish”
  • Edmund Tijerina, San Antonio Express-News, “Barbacoa’s tender tradition”

Best Newspaper Food Feature, 100,000 to 200,000 circulation:

  • Cindy Hoedel, The Kansas City Star, “Fried chicken and fun: How one KC family is reclaiming Sunday dinner”
  • Debbie Moose, The News & Observer, “When George Yamazawa listened to his heart, joy followed”
  • Kathleen Purvis, The Charlotte Observer, “For the love of caramel cake”

Best Newspaper Food Feature, above 200,000 circulation:

  • Steve Hoffman, Minneapolis Star Tribune, “In celebration of French cooking”
  • Laura Reiley, Tampa Bay Times, “Chef takes on rare challenge to bring back national spotlight”
  • Mark Vamos, The Dallas Morning News, “Straight to the Sizzle”

Best Newspaper Special Food Project:

  • The Associated Press, “Seafood from Slaves,” Robin McDowell, Margie Mason, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan
  • The Kansas City Star, “Smoke Signals,” Jill Wendholt Silva, with Tammy Ljungblad, Cindy Hoedel, Mary Pepitone, Barbara Hill-Meyer, Paula Southerland, Kathy Lu and Monty Davis
  • The Washington Post, “America’s Best Food Cities,” Tom Sietsema

Best Non-Newspaper Food Feature:

  • Simona Carini, Remedy Quarterly, “Fresh Dry Beans: an Edible Oxymoron”
  • Tienlon Ho, Lucky Peach, “Winter Worm, Summer Grass”
  • Dorothea Hunter Sönne, Gulfshore Life, “Eat, Drink and be Knighted”
  • Gwen Ashley Walters, Phoenix Magazine, “Saintly Stockers”

Best Food Column:

  • Dorie Greenspan, The Washington Post
  • Richard Marini, San Antonio Express-News
  • Tom Philpott, Mother Jones

Best Restaurant Criticism:

  • Leslie Brenner, The Dallas Morning News
  • Devra First, The Boston Globe
  • Rick Nelson, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Hanna Raskin, The Post and Courier

Best Food Essay:

  • Victoria Pesce Elliott, Miami Herald, “Remembering my mom’s meatballs”
  • Dianne Jacob, Lucky Peach, “The Meaning of Mangoes”
  • Jim Webster, The Washington Post, “My late grandma left a mark with her dinner rolls. Why can’t I?”

Best Story on Food Policy or Food Issues:

  • Patricia Callahan, Chicago Tribune, “Pesticide’s Risks Tossed Aside”
  • Paul Greenberg, California Sunday with the Food and Environment Reporting Network,“The Fisherman’s Dilemma”
  • Erin Quinn, with Chris Young, Phillip Allen, Eleanor Bell and Jared Bennett, Center for Public Integrity, “Why the FDA doesn’t really know what’s in your food”

Best Food Business Story:

  • Ted Genoways, New Republic, “Fear in a Handful of Dust”
  • Maura Judkis, The Washington Post, “Why some restaurants are doing away with tipping”
  • Hanna Raskin, The Post and Courier, “Too many cooks in Charleston’s kitchen? Surging culinary scene stirs debate about a bubble that could burst”

Best Food/Travel Story:

  • Kathleen M. Mangan, AAA World, “Virginia is for Oysters”
  • Kathleen Purvis, The Charlotte Observer, “My Kitchen in France”
  • Naomi Tomky, Serious Eats, “A Day in the Life of a Singapore Hawker”

Best Writing on Beer, Wine or Spirits:

  • Ted Genoways, Mother Jones with the Food and Environment Reporting Network, “Heart of Agave”
  • Jason Horn, Playboy, “(Almost) Everything you need to know about amaro”
  • Craig LaBan, The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Sipping an 87-year-old Spanish red — from a discount liquor store”

Best Food Multimedia Presentation:

  • The Dallas Morning News (in partnership with Al Dia Dallas), “Flavors of Mexico,” Leslie Brenner, with Wynne Davis, Jorge Chavez and Juan Jaramillo
  • Feet in 2 Worlds, “La Comida de los Cocineros,” Victoria Bouloubasis and Andrea Patiño Contreras
  • The Washington Post, “Holiday Cookie Generator,” Alex Baldinger and Kennedy Elliott

Best Writing on Food — Student Division:

  • Kelly Archer, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill writing for Southern Neighbor Magazine, “The Rise of Durham’s Culinary Kingdom”
  • Bo McMillan, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill writing for CNBC, “Craft beers get heavy … on the alcohol”
  • Shelby Vittek, Rutgers University writing for The Record, “Exhibit tells the story of New Jersey diners”