Almost a dozen Houston-area names are in the running for national recognition in the 29th annual James Beard Foundation Awards, one of the most prestigious culinary awards programs in the county.
The list of semifinalists was announced Feb. 27. Nominations come from a group of over 250 volunteers for the program, with winners ultimately decided by the votes of around 600 restaurant critics, culinary educators and past award winners.
Houston’s own James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega will announce the finalists during a March 27 livestream. The awards presentation for the winners will be held May 6 in Chicago.
Here are the 11 Houston-area semifinalists for 2019:
Outstanding Bar Program: Anvil Bar & Refuge
Outstanding chef: Chris Shepherd, Georgia James
Outstanding service: Hugo’s and Tony’s
Outstanding restaurateur: Tracy Vaught, H Town Restaurant Group
Outstanding wine program: Pappas Bros. Steakhouse at the Galleria
Rising star chef of the year: Jonathan “Jonny” Rhodes, Restaurant Indigo
Best chef (southwest): Ronnie Killen, Killen’s Steakhouse; Kaiser Lashkari, Himalaya; Trong Nguyen, Crawfish & Noodles
Outstanding restaurant: The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation