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Bauer Chronicles

MB breaks down the Beard Awards, and even though the Meyer/Batali/Bastianich heavyweights left their marks, he heralds the '08 affair as "a breakthrough year" that saw the small, casual contingent—Delfina, Terra, the Momofukus—get recognition: "What all this says to me is that as a dining nation we're growing up. Winning doesn't necessarily mean glitzy surroundings, high-profile names and chic locations; it's about how the people behind the stove translate their passion to diners." [BauerBlog]