On June 10 in Chicago, two Australians scored nods at the James Beard Awards. The ceremony, which is often dubbed the Oscars of the food world, recognises cookbook authors, illustrators, designers, publishers and journalists across the world, as well as honouring top US chefs and restaurants.

Sydney chef Josh Niland (Saint Peter, Peterman) won best professional cookbook for Fish Butchery: Mastering the Catch, Cut and the Craft. Niland’s third cookbook features tips for dry aging fish, cooking with offal (eyeballs included) and other advanced techniques that aren’t safe for your home kitchen. This is Niland’s third James Beard Award (he won two for his debut book The Whole Fish Cookbook), and he beat fellow Aussies Mat Lindsay and Pat Nourse’s Ester: Australian Cooking to take out the title.

Brooklyn-based Chinese-Australian food writer Hetty Lui McKinnon won the top prize in the vegetable-focused category for Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds.

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Reacting to the award on her Instagram, McKinnon wrote that she was “feeling overwhelmed but remembering to own this moment, to allow myself to feel worthy and to be proud of this achievement. It has taken me a long time, but I’m here.”

Her fifth cookbook touches on food as a vehicle to communicate family connection, so she naturally went on to thank her family: “… my dad whose tenderness and big joyous energy flows through this book. I felt so happy writing this book because he felt close. I wore his shirt last night to keep him close. Thank you also to my mum, my fearless leader in the kitchen and in life.”

A third Australian, aid worker Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, who was killed in an airstrike while delivering food aid in Gaza, was honoured by Sam Chapple-Sokol in the acceptance speech for The World Central Kitchen Cookbook, which was named the best international cookbook.

Head here to see the full list of winners.