Dallas' restaurant scene received some nice surprises via the James Beard Awards, which just released its list of semifinalists for 2020. Considered to be the Oscars of the food world, the awards are presented annually to chefs, bartenders, restaurateurs, authors, and more.
Dallas chefs and restaurants earned a total of nine nominations. That's up from last year, when the city logged six.
Exciting newbies include:
- Clyde Greenhouse, Kessler Baking Studio for Outstanding Baker
- Salaryman, the Oak Cliff restaurant, which was nominated for Best New Restaurant
Both of those nominations are national nods.
Returning Dallas nominees include Maggie Huff (Homewood in Dallas) and Ricardo "Ricchi" Sanchez (Bullion in Dallas), both semifinalists in the category of Best Pastry Chef.
Four Dallas chefs were nominated for the regional contest of Best Chef in Texas: Misti Norris (Petra and the Beast), Regino Rojas (Revolver Taco Lounge), Teiichi Sakurai (Tei-An), and Donny Sirisavath (Khao Noodle Shop).
Fort Worth chef Molly McCook (Ellerbe Fine Foods in Fort Worth) was also nominated for Best Chef in Texas.
Overall, Texas bars and restaurants earned nominations in a number of national categories, including Larry McGuire of Austin's McGuire Moorman Hospitality for Outstanding Restaurateur; Kim McPherson (McPherson Cellars in Lubbock) for Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer; and Bria Downey (Clay Pigeon Food & Drink in Fort Worth) for Rising Star Chef of the Year.
The state already has one Beard Award winner. Last week, the Foundation recognized Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que in Brownsville as one of six “America’s Classics.” The category recognizes establishments, typically family-owned, that are “cherished for their quality food, local character, and lasting appeal.” Previous Texas winners include Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor), The Original Sonny Bryan’s (Dallas), and Irma’s (Houston).
This year will be the first time under the James Beard Foundation’s new rules that increased its chef awards from 10 regions to 12. Those changes included making Texas its own region for the best chef awards; previously, the Lone Star State had been lumped into the Southwest with Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah.
These changes ensure that at least one Texas chef will win a James Beard Award every year going forward. Last year, no one from Texas won an award. Since 2010, six Texas chefs won the Southwest category, split evenly between Houston and Austin.
Semifinalists are selected by the Foundation’s restaurant and chef awards committee made up of food writers from across the country, including Los Angeles Times critic Bill Addison, Bloomberg food editor Kate Krader, and Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Allison Cook. The finalists for each category will be announced in Philadelphia on March 25.
The Foundation will announce its media award winners in New York on April 24. The chef and restaurant awards will be presented in Chicago on May 4.