2019 James Beard semifinalists: Houston boasts 11 contenders for culinary honors


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

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Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.
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