Austin's favorite barbecue guru won big Monday night at the 2015 James Beard Awards. Aaron Franklin, of Franklin Barbecue fame, was named Best Chef: Southwest.
This was Franklin's first nomination for Best Chef: Southwest, and he edged out five big culinary talents for the title. Other Texas finalists in the category were Bryce Gilmore of Austin's Barley Swine, Hugo Ortega of Hugo's in Houston and Justin Yu of Oxheart in Houston. Martín Rios of Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and Kevin Binkley of Binkley’s in Cave Creek, Arizona rounded out the finalists.
Franklin isn't the first local celebrity chef to nab the prestigious award. Tyson Cole of Uchi/Uchiko was named Best Chef: Southwest in 2011. In 2012, Paul Qui, Cole's protégé, won the award. Last year, the title went to Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston.