James Beard Foundation

Referred to as the “Oscars of the food world,” the James Beard Foundation awards program annually acknowledges culinary professionals. The James Beard Awards recognize exceptional talent in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system.

Event Awards

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JB Drawing 900H Final

Overview + IDEA

A prestigious name in hospitality was seeking to modernize its recognition program. As a company whose organization’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone, this program needed to make a spark in the industry.

As an American-based program, we saw the need to create something special that was manufactured in the US. While the overall structure of the medallion was set in stone, there were a few elements that were in dire need of a quality update. As the original medallions were not supplied by Cristaux, the previous design was manufactured in a way that allowed for some flaws in quality and longevity. In order to avoid these flaws, Cristaux set out to redesign the ribbon for substantial improvement.

We put the pedal to the metal, quite literally, and got to work on a redesign. To take it to the next level, we brought all aspects of the manufacturing to the states, allowing for quicker production runs. This proved to be a vital solution to turning around the awards in quick fashion since all award winners are not announced to the public until during the event ceremony itself.

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Football Fields of Ribbon

Each program run uses over 8 football fields length of ribbon in the production of the medallions.


Any challenge associated with custom molds can come at a cost. Whether that is in theory or an actual monetary value, we set out to alleviate some of the initial pain points that James Beard Foundation had. The medallion design that was brought to Cristaux from James Beard’s previous manufacturer was unfortunately not capturing the face of James Beard in a substantial way.

Since the medallion is created from a mold, this would be where Cristaux set itself apart from other manufacturers. By creating a mold that displays James Beard’s prominent facial details, we would encourage this medallion to really shine.

The additional component that the James Beard Foundation team set out to fix was the ribbon that hung through the loops of the medallion. While many recipients wanted to wear this medallion around their necks, the previous vendor design had a ring that would break off through natural wear, rendering the ribbon function useless.

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The Creation

While a medallion may seem easy to create, there are many components that go into the manufacturing of each piece. To ensure quality control and our high standards are in place for each piece, we had to restructure the entire face in the James Beard medallion mold.

Cristaux took a very untraditional approach to a very established program. Our core focus was on James Beard himself. We spent over 25 hours remodeling his face so that when we cast new molds the features will stand out that much more.

Additionally, unlike how traditional medallions function, which are typically attached by a metal ring to the ribbon, we engineered a way to solder a bar on the back. This allows the entire design to be a much cleaner concept while avoiding the usual wear and tear that might come with the functionality of the piece.

To make the awards ceremony complete, Cristaux created custom packaging for the awards. This included black velvet boxes to house these awards, truly modernizing the overall medallion look and feel. Now, the James Beard Foundation Team had a quality medallion that could withstand many future years of accolades.

Play Video | James Beard Foundation Medallions Made by Cristaux


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