Last Friday, April 24, the James Beard Foundation granted its Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards, and Molly Wizenberg (of Delancey and Essex with husband Brandon Pettit) won the Individual Food Blog category for Orangette. Wizenberg's 11-year-old blog is no stranger to attention—it won Best Overall Food Blog in the Well Fed Network 2005 Food Blog Awards, won Best Food Blog in the World by the Times of London in 2009, and was a finalist for the Saveur Blog Awards this year in the category of Best Writing.
In terms of the restaurant world, however, one of the most charming things to know about Orangette is that Seattle might not have the 38-worthy Delancey or neighboring craft bar Essex without it, as Wizenberg met Pettit through the blog. Pettit was living in New York and a friend turned him onto Orangette with the line "I found a woman for you." In agreement, Pettit emailed Wizenberg in April 2005 and outlined what they had in common: they had both lived and studied in Paris, they were both in their early twenties, they both loved to cook.
They began emailing and three weeks later, Pettit tagged along on a business trip his dad was taking to Seattle. He moved to Seattle in July 2006 and they married a year later (three years to the day after she started Orangette). In 2009, the couple opened Delancey and in the same year, 2012, they opened Essex and (three weeks later) had their daughter, June.
This is Wizenberg's first James Beard Award. The 2015 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award winners will be announced a week from today, Monday, May 4. The Best Chef: Northwest Finalists include:
- Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins, Seattle
- Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle
- Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, WA
- Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, OR
- Justin Woodward, Castagna, Portland, OR