Awards Season

Dallas restaurants and chefs kill it on nominations for James Beard Awards

Dallas restaurants and chefs kill it on nominations for James Beard

Chef John Tesar of Knife steakhouse in Dallas
John Tesar is on the semifinalist list for James Beard. Photo by Marc Lee

A handful of Dallas restaurants and chefs have made the list of semifinalists for the 27th annual James Beard Foundation Awards, which recognize food and beverage stars in 21 categories, such as best restaurants, chefs, bars, rising star chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers.

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.

Dallas earned a spot on the list of Best New Restaurants semifinalists via Flora Street Cafe, the restaurant in Dallas' Arts District from chef Stephan Pyles. Flora Street is one of 27 places from around the country to make the list and the only entry from Texas.

Dallas has four nominees in the "best chef in the Southwest" category: Omar Flores, now at Whistle Britches; Teiichi Sakurai, of Tei An; John Tesar of Knife; and David Uygur of Lucia.

Dallas also has a semifinalist for best pastry chef: Maggie Huff of FT33 in Dallas.

The full semifinalist list can be found online at

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.