After winning Best Chef: Southeast at Monday night’s James Beard awards, Mike Lata of FIG told the James Beard bloggers ““I took a beta blocker. My doctor gave me one just for stage fright. You can print that. I’ve been nominated three times, this is my first win. It’s nice to lose to great people but it’s great to win. I feel very good now.”

It’s a win that was a long time coming for Lata. He beat out Bob Waggoner, Hugh Acheson, Bill Smith, and Linton Hopkins.

Sean Brock of McCrady’s, who was nominated for the national Rising Star Chef award, lost out to Nate Appleman at A16 in San Francisco. If you were following his tweets, it was obvious he wasn’t fazed by the loss as he tweeted this: ”Just took a piss beside Thomas Keller.”

In other Beard award news, John T. Edge from the Southern Foodways Alliance, was inducted into the Who’s Who in Food & Beverage in America. He gave a memorable bon mot from the stage about Jack Arnold: “Jack and his beautiful wife run the best meat-and-three in Nashville, which is by definition the best meat-and-three in America. He makes amazing fried green tomatoes, beautiful green — he’s not buying canned shit. He’s locally focused, seasonally focused but he is not a precious son of a bitch.”

And in the Best New Restaurant category, a list Trattoria Lucca made it on in the first round of nominations, rising NYC celebuchef David Chang won for Momofuku Ko.

Congrats to Mike Lata, be sure to stop by FIG and raise a glass of absinthe in his honor.

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