Food: it's my joie de vivre! My raison d'être! I am a foodie and I'm not afraid to shout it loudly from the rooftops! It is my love of food and fine cuisine that led me to learning about the James Beard awards.

The James Beard Foundation has just announced semi-finalist nominees for their prestigious annual awards. This award is the most prestigious one that a restaurant, chef, baker, bar program, hospitality, pastry chef, restaurateur, wine producer or rising star chef can hope to win.

Sadly, there are not enough East Texas nominees. It breaks my heart that our superb restaurants, chefs and wine producers got completely overlooked this year, just because we don't live the "big city". How rude!

At least there are these 40 Texas restaurants, chefs, bakers, and wine producers who DID make the cut in several categories!

Here are our proud state nominees for the 30th annual James Beard Award:

Best New Restaurant:


  • Salaryman


  • The Blind Goat
  • Squable

Outstanding Baker:


  • Clyde Greenhouse, Kessler Baking Studio
  • David Norman, Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden

Outstanding Bar Program:


  • Las Almas Rotas


  • Anvil Bar & Refuge

Outstanding Chef:


  • Justin Yu, Theodore Rex

Outstanding Hospitality:


  • Hugo's

Outstanding Pastry Chef:


  • Maggie Huff, Homewood
  • Ricardo "Ricchi" Sanchez, Bullion

Outstanding Restaurant:


  • The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

Outstanding Restaurateur:


  • Larry McGuire, McGuire Moorman Hospitality: Jeffrey's, Perla’s, Pool Burger, and others


  • Tracy Vaught, H Town Restaurant Group, Houston (Hugo's, Xochi, Caracol, and others)



Outstanding Wine Program:


  • Rosie Cannonball

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer:


  • Jeffrey Stuffings and Michael Stuffings, Jester King Brewery


  • Kim McPherson, McPherson Cellars

Rising Chef of the Year:

Fort Worth:

  • Bria Downey, Clay Pigeon Food & Drink


  • Kaitlin Steets, Theodore Rex

Best Chef: TEXAS


  • Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye, Austin
  • Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie, Austin
  • Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin


  • Dawn Burrell, Kulture, Houston
  • Misti Norris, Petra and the Beast, Dallas
  • Regino Rojas, Revolver Taco Lounge, Dallas
  • Teiichi Sakurai, Tei-An, Dallas
  • Donny Sirisavath, Khao Noodle Shop, Dallas

El Paso:

  • Aldo Mora, Cafe Central, El Paso, TX

Fort Worth:

  • Molly McCook, Ellerbe Fine Foods, Fort Worth, TX


  • Dawn Burrell, Kulture, Houston
  • Manabu Horiuchi, Kata Robata, Houston
  • Anita Jaisinghani, Pondicheri, Houston
  • Trong Nguyen, Crawfish & Noodles, Houston
  • Jason Vaughan, Nancy's Hustle, Houston


  • Norma Frances "Tootsie" Tomanetz, Snow's BBQ, Lexington, TX


  • Alexandra Gates, Cochinea

San Antonio:

  • Alex Paredes, Carnitas Lonja, San Antonio
  • Esaul Ramos, 2M Smokehouse, San Antonio


  • Laurie Williamson, Rancho Loma, Talpa, TX
  • Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio

The James Beard award winners will be announced in Chicago on May 4, 2020.

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