The James Beard Foundation has selected its finalists for their annual Restaurant and Chef Awards, and none are in Austin. This is a bit of a surprise since there were 6 different Austin nominees, and considering how well-represented Austin has been in previous years. In 2022, Austin's Edgar Rico (Nixta Taqueria) won Emerging Chef and Iliana de la Vega (El Naranjo) was named the first ever Best Chef: Texas.
Nonetheless, Texas as a whole is well-represented among 2023 finalists and one Austin establishment will be recognized as an American classic. 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
Texas is considered its own region and one person will earn Best Chef: Texas; this year's finalists include:
- 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
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, on top of the previously mentioned Austin winners. 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.