The James Beard Foundation will be in Houston on March 27 to announce the finalists for its annual awards, which are considered the Oscars of the culinary world; they recognize achievements by chefs, bartenders, restaurant owners, media members, and more. When it does, several of Dallas' top chefs will be eagerly awaiting the news.
The foundation announced the semifinalists for its chef awards, and once again, Dallas is well-represented in the category of Best Chef: Southwest. This year's local nominees are Bruno Davaillon (Bullion), Regino Rojas (Purépecha Room by Revolver Taco Lounge), and David Uygur (Lucia).
Other intriguing Texas nominees include: Austin chefs Kevin Fink (Emmer & Rye), Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine), and Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie); Houston chefs Ronnie Killen (Killen's Steakhouse), Trong Nguyen (Crawfish & Noodles), and Kaiser Lashkari (Himalaya); perennial nominee Steve McHugh (Cured in San Antonio), and others.
Dallas earned nominations in three other categories. Ricardo "Ricchi" Sanchez of Bullion is a first-time nominee for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Fine dining restaurant The French Room joins two Houston establishments (Tony's and Hugo's) as nominees for Outstanding Service. Petra and the Beast joins Austin's Suerte as two of the nominees for Best New Restaurant in America. Pappas Bros. Steakhouse's sister location in Houston is up for Outstanding Wine Program.
Overall, Texans earned 27 entries in the various categories, which Texas Monthly notes is the most ever and is up from 20 last year. How many will become finalists remains to be seen, of course, but surely the Beard Foundation wouldn't come to Houston just to shut out Texas — right?
The awards will be presented in Chicago on Monday, May 6.