Matt Molina, the executive chef at Hancock Park’s Osteria Mozza and its more casual adjoining offshoot Pizzeria Mozza, has won the Best Chef: Pacific award from the James Beard Foundation. He received the honor during the 25th annual ceremony, held today at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Osteria Mozza — an industry hangout popular with everyone from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Ryan Seacrest to Dustin Hoffman and Amanda Peet — has been thronged since its opening, and was nominated in the Best New Restaurant category of the Beard awards in 2008. Chef-owner Nancy Silverton was also nominated this year, for Outstanding Chef, but lost to Daniel Humm at Manhattan’s Eleven Madison Park.
As previously reported, Wolfgang Puck received the Lifetime Achievement award. He has been the subject of controversy in the past week due to the recent revelation that his company has continued to offer private catering clients and international restaurant customers the option of eating foie gras despite publicly shunning the fatty duck liver years ago.
Molina began his career under Silverton at Campanile, working his way up the kitchen’s chain of command. He then briefly helped Mozza partners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich open the acclaimed Del Posto in New York before eventually returning to embark on the bipartite Mozza venture.