James Beard Foundation
Profile for the James Beard Foundation:
When Nora Pouillon decided to pursue organic certification for Restaurant Nora, her charming Washington, D.C., eatery, restaurant certification didn’t exist. So she invented it. “Back then she was the only person emphasizing that as the first and foremost quality of her cuisine,” says Patrick O’Connell, chef-proprietor of the Inn at Little Washington and a fellow leading advocate of local sourcing. Working with certifier Oregon Tilth, Pouillon spent two years establishing standards, and in 1999, with 95 percent of her ingredients certified organic, Restaurant Nora became the first officially certified restaurant in the United States. “She continued until it became not only fashionable but essential. And others followed,” adds O’Connell.