On Friday the U.S. Postal Service is going to release some extremely tasteful stamps -- a sheet of Forever stamps honoring late, great celebrity chefs James Beard, Julia Child, Joyce Chen, Edna Lewis and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi for having "made a lasting and invaluable impact on our food culture."
Available at big post offices around the country as well as online at usps.com/stamps and ebay.com/stamps, the 49-cent stamps will have a first-day-of-issue ceremony Friday morning in Chicago with "Top Chef" season-4 winner and owner of Girl & the Goat, Stephanie Izard.
The oil-painting-ish artwork is by Jason Sieler.
According to a news release, "The Postal Service recognizes the five chefs for inspiring the American public to expand its collective palates.
"• James Beard is remembered for fostering a vibrant food culture in the United States.
Beard believed he was blessed with the perfect “taste memory.” As a result, his opinions
were strong and his judgments could be blunt—but his cultivated palate was also receptive to simple, satisfying pleasures, such as buttered potatoes or an onion sandwich.
"• Joyce Chen is one of America’s greatest popularizers of Chinese food. From her landmark restaurant in the Boston area to her cookbooks and trailblazing PBS television show, Chen invited newcomers to sample unfamiliar dishes in ways that firmly established Chinese cuisine in the United States.
"• Julia Child demystified French cuisine in the United States. Through her extremely popular television shows and cookbooks, Child showed us that we could make even supposedly difficult dishes in our very own kitchens, doing so with a joie de vivre that made her the public face of American cooking for more than 40 years.
"• Known as “the Grande Dame of Southern Cooking,” Edna Lewis found wisdom in the customs and patterns of her rural Virginia childhood. By bringing such quintessential dishes as shrimp and grits or roast chicken to the plates of fine restaurants, Lewis convinced her fellow Americans to take a second look at Southern cooking while also serving as one of the first voices to reemphasize the importance of fresh, seasonal ingredients.
"• Renowned for his creativity and culinary adventurousness, Edward (Felipe) Rojas-Lombardi is widely credited with introducing the Spanish small-plate tapas concept to American restaurants while raising the profile of Caribbean and South American cuisine."
U.S. Postal Service images