A handful of Texas restaurants and chefs have made the list of semifinalists for the 27th annual James Beard Foundation Awards, including a top chef and a bar from San Antonio.
The Beard awards recognize food and beverage stars in 21 categories, such as best restaurants, chefs, bars, rising star chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers.
Nominated in the Best Chef: Southwest category is San Antonio chef Steve McHugh of Cured, the farm-to-table restaurant featuring charcuterie and salumi in the carefully restored Administration building at the Pearl.
The Esquire Tavern in San Antonio also earned a nomination for Outstanding Bar Program, along with Anvil Bar from Houston.
Only one Texas eatery made the list of Best New Restaurant semifinalists: Flora Street Cafe, the restaurant in Dallas' Arts District from chef Stephan Pyles.
Four Houston chefs were nominated for Best Chef: Southwest including Manabu Horiuchi, Anita Jaisinghani, Hugo Ortega, and Jianyun Ye. Austin had one: Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine. Dallas nominees include Omar Flores, Teiichi Sakurai, John Tesar, and David Uygur.
Before you start rehearsing your acceptance speech, keep in mind that these are semifinalists only. We still have to get through the final nominees, announced on March 15, before winners are announced on April 25. But everyone likes to read about awards, even if not everyone can be a winner.
Voters consist of a volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country, including local critics, culinary educators, and past winners.
The full semifinalist list can be found online.
Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and furthers the foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America's food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. Winners receive a certificate and a medallion. There are no cash prizes.