Awards Season

2 Austin restaurant stars score nominations for James Beard Awards

2 Austin restaurant stars score nominations for James Beard Awards

Laura Sawicki
Applause for Laura Sawicki, nominated for Best Pastry Chef. Photo courtesy of Launderette

Two popular Austin chefs made the list of semifinalists for the 27th annual James Beard Foundation Awards. The Beard awards recognize food and beverage stars in 21 categories, such as best restaurants, chefs, bars, rising star chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers.

Austin chef Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine was nominated for the category of Best Chef: Southwest." And Laura Sawicki of Launderette is a semifinalist for Best Pastry Chef.

Before anyone starts prepping an 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.

Only one restaurant in Texas made the list of Best New Restaurant semifinalists: Flora Street Cafe, the restaurant in Dallas' Arts District from chef Stephan Pyles.

Dallas nominees for Best Chef: Southwest include Omar Flores, Teiichi Sakurai, John Tesar, and David Uygur. San Antonio has one nominee: Steve McHugh, chef-owner of Cured. Four Houston chefs were nominated for the category: Manabu Horiuchi, Anita Jaisinghani, Hugo Ortega, and Jianyun Ye.

The full semifinalist list can be found online.

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. No cash prizes, boo.