Three San Antonio-area chefs and restaurants are in the running for one of the food world’s most prestigious prizes. The James Beard Foundation has selected them as finalists for their annual Restaurant and Chef Awards.
Considered the Oscars of the food world, the awards recognize chefs and other culinary professionals in a wide range of categories ranging from Outstanding Chef to Best New Restaurant. Texas is considered its own region and one person will earn Best Chef: Texas.
The finalists for Best Chef: Texas are:
- John Russ, Clementine, San Antonio
- Ernest Servantes and David Kirkland, Burnt Bean Co., Seguin
- Reyna Duong, Sandwich Hag, Dallas
- Benchawan Jabthong Painter, Street to Kitchen, Houston
- Emiliano Marentes, ELEMI, El Paso
Other Texan restaurants and chefs in the running for national awards include:
- Outstanding Bar: Las Ramblas, Brownsville
- Outstanding Bakery: Kuluntu Bakery, Dallas
- Outstanding Bakery: La Casita Bakeshop, Dallas
- Outstanding Restaurant: Lucia, Dallas
- Best New Restaurant: Restaurant Beatrice, Dallas
- Best New Restaurant: Don Artemio Mexican Heritage, Fort Worth
- Best New Restaurant: Tatemó, Houston
- Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program: Nancy’s Hustle, Houston
Notably, all of this year’s finalists for both the national categories and Best Chef: Texas are new. None of them received nominations in 2022.
The finalists are drawn from a pool of semifinalists that included 10 nominations each for Houston and Dallas, seven for San Antonio, six for Austin, and two for Fort Worth.
Last year, Texans did well in the awards, with Houston cocktail bar Julep winning Outstanding Bar Program, Austin chef Edgar Rico (Nixta Taqueria) winning Emerging Chef, and Austin chef Iliana de la Vega (El Naranjo) winning the first ever Best Chef: Texas. In addition, two Texans won media awards — Austin chef Jesse Griffiths (Dai Due) for his cookbook, The Hog Book: A Chef’s Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Pigs and Texas Monthly taco editor Jose Ralat for his Tex-Mexplainer columns.
The Foundation will reveal its Restaurant and Chef Award winners at an awards ceremony on Monday, June 5, 2023, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Media Award winners will be announced on June 3.