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Sydney Seafood King Josh Niland Just Won the James Beard Book of the Year Award

He nabbed the award for 'The Whole Fish Cookbook' — and he's the first Australian to win the coveted prize.
By Sarah Ward
May 30, 2020
By Sarah Ward
May 30, 2020

For the past five years, Josh Niland has been showcasing his seafood prowess to Sydneysiders, with the acclaimed chef first opening restaurant Saint Peter in 2016, then launching fishmonger Fish Butchery in 2018. Last year, he shared his recipes in The Whole Fish Cookbook, letting seafood fiends everywhere follow in his footsteps at home. And now that ocean-focused text has just picked up the prestigious James Beard Book of the Year Award.

On Wednesday, May 27 in the US, Niland nabbed the coveted prize — which is considered the top culinary book award in America and worldwide. Handed out by the culinary-focused non-profit James Beard Foundation each year, the James Beard Awards recognise food-centric media across a number of categories, including chefs and restaurants, books, journalism and broadcast media. They also bestow prizes in fields such as restaurant design, leadership, humanitarian work and lifetime achievement.

In receiving the Book of the Year Award, Niland became the first Australian to ever take out the prize. And, he scored a second honour as well, with The Whole Fish Cookbook also winning in the Restaurant and Professional field.

Niland's debut cookbook, The Whole Fish Cookbook champions his culinary philosophy, with an ethical and sustainable approach to seafood paramount to his cooking. The book's recipes include cod liver pate on toast, fish cassoulet, roast fish bone marrow, and the chef's 'perfect' version of fish and chips.

Rob Palmer

The Whole Fish Cookbook has been picking up praise and accolades since it was first published last September, with the James Beard Book of the Year Award joining a long list of gongs. It also received the Food Book Award at the 2019 André Simon Awards, was named illustrated book of the year at the 2020 Australian Book Industry Awards, earned photographer Rob Palmer the National Portrait Gallery's National Photographic Portrait Prize 2020 for one of his photos of Niland, and has been longlisted for the Australian Booksellers Association Booksellers' Choice Awards 2020.

To peruse the full list of 2020 James Beard Award winners, visit the awards' website. For more information about The Whole Fish Cookbook, head to publisher Hardie Grant's website.

Top images: Rob Palmer.

Published on May 30, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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