Gabrielle Hamilton, Highlands Bar and Grill win Beard Awards

CHICAGO — Chef and owner Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune restaurant in New York City took home the outstanding chef award Monday night at the James Beard Awards , and Alabama's Highlands Bar and Grill won the outstanding restaurant honor.

Highlands Bar and Grill received the top award after multiple nominations in the category over the years. The menu changes daily at chef Frank Stitt's Birmingham restaurant, which is rooted in classic French cooking techniques. Diners can experience regional, heritage ingredients crafted into interesting dishes, like crawfish beignets or a New York strip paired with a duck-fat potato cake.

It was a double-winning night for Highlands, too. The restaurant's Dolester Miles won the award for outstanding pastry chef.

Hamilton also is a previous nominee, earning a nomination in the same top category last year. Hamilton opened Prune in New York's East Village nearly 20 years ago. She previously won the Beard Award for Best Chef New York City. Her current menu offers diners such dishes as a smoked bluefish salad with pickled celery and rye crackers, and chicken wings and Manila clams braised in sherry with leeks.

The Beard Awards moved to Chicago in 2015 after being based in New York for more than 20 years. The awards are to remain in Chicago through 2021.

This year's best new restaurant honor went to the Southern cuisine of JuneBaby in Seattle. The outstanding baker award went to Belinda Leong and Michel Suas of B. Patisseries in San Francisco. Caroline Styne of The Lucques Group in Los Angeles won the outstanding restaurateur honor.

Camille Cogswell of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia was named the rising star chef of the year. Zahav's Michael Solomonv won last year's Beard Award for outstanding chef.

The James Beard Foundation's lifetime achievement award went to multiple-time James Beard Award-winning author Paula Wolfert.

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