Jun 14, 2022 - Food and Drink

Two Austin chefs win prestigious James Beard awards

Austin chef Edgar Rico of Nixta Taqueria won the emerging chef category at the James Beard award ceremony. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Local chefs Edgar Rico of Nixta Taqueria and Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo took home prestigious James Beard awards Monday night.

  • Rico became the first Austin chef to receive the foundation's emerging chef award, while de la Vega won the award for best chef in Texas.

Why it matters: The James Beards are the Oscars of the food world, and four Austin chefs were named as semifinalists this year.

What they're saying: "I think I am the first taquero to win Emerging Chef, and to be one of the first Mexican Americans to ever win this speaks volumes for the foundation to appreciate taquerias," Rico told Axios' Monica Eng last night.

  • "It means things are changing around here," Rico added. "You keep hearing about the boom of Austin and to be a small part of that and to make our city the culinary destination it hopes to be — it's a dream come true."

Of note: Out-of-towner Mashama Bailey, who opened The Diner Bar and Grey Market at Austin’s Thompson Hotel earlier this year, won outstanding chef.

  • And on Sunday, Dai Due chef-owner Jesse Griffiths won a James Beard Media award for his "The Hog Book: A Chef's Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Pigs."

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