The long list for the Oscars of the restaurant world is out now.
The James Beard Foundation today announced its semifinalists for 2019 James Beard Awards — the Oscars of the food and drink industry. And it’s a big day for a select bunch across the West.
Let’s start with the semifinalists in C&I’s hometown of Dallas. Charcuterie destination Petra & the Beast was given a nod in the Best New Restaurant. The French Room, a century-plus-old fine-dining palace, was listed under the Best Service category. (Look out for our story on an evening at The French Room in an upcoming Taste of the West newsletter, subscribe below.) French master Bruno Davaillon (Bullion); David Uygur (Lucia), and Regino Rojas (Purépecha Room by Revolver Taco Lounge) have been named as semifinalists for Best Chef: Southwest. Rojas was the only Dallas chef named as a semifinalist in 2018.
Iliana de la Vega (El Naranjo, Austin, Texas), Trong Nguyen (Crawfish & Noodles, Houston), and Ronnie Killen (Killen’s Steakhouse, Pearland, Texas) were among other Texas chefs named as semifinalists for Best Chef: Southwest. But we’re most excited about seeing Steven McHugh (Cured, San Antonio) as another nominee. If you’ve been following along, McHugh is a C&I favorite. We’re psyched to see his name on the long list.
Nominations across the West include Silvana Salcido Esparza (Barrio Café Gran Reserva, Phoenix); Kevin Binkley (Binkley’s Restaurant, Phoenix); Carlos Salgado (Taco María, Costa Mesa, California); Jessica Koslow (Sqirl, Los Angeles); Jen Castle and Blake Spalding (Hell's Backbone Grill, Boulder, Utah); Beau Schooler (In Bocca Al Lupo, Juneau, Alaska); Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold (Leopold Bros., Denver;) Don Guerra (Barrio Bread, Tucson, Arizona); Kim McPherson (McPherson Cellars, Lubbock, Texas); and so, so many more.
The full list is available at the James Beard Foundation website. The award finalists will be announced March 27 in Houston and winners at the gala on May 6.
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Photography: Robert Strickland