Awards and Best Restaurant Lists Almost Destroyed My Mental Health

Niche Food Group, Wildwood, Missouri

In March of 2011, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of a Whole Foods, staring at my phone. The James Beard Award finalists announcement was being live-tweeted (for the first time ever, I think) and I was full of nervous energy. I thought that since I had been a finalist for the previous two years, it was a given that I would be a finalist until I’d won or closed my restaurant down...