Jan 24, 2024 - News

Dallas-Fort Worth has eight James Beard semifinalists

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Two restaurants and six chefs from Dallas-Fort Worth are in the running for a 2024 James Beard award.

Driving the news: The James Beard Foundation announced its semifinalists for awards honoring the best in food and drinks across the country.

  • D-FW snagged three national nominations and five best chefs in Texas nominations.

Why it matters: The James Beards Awards are essentially the Oscars of American cuisine.

  • This year, there are 19 Lone Star State semifinalists, down slightly from last year.

Flashback: North Texas had six finalists in national categories last year but didn't win any awards.

  • Some of this year's semifinalists are familiar names from last year. Beloved Italian eatery Lucia and La Casita Bakeshop are again named in the national awards categories.

The intrigue: The foundation is increasingly recognizing Texas restaurants in the national categories.

  • Texas had eight finalists in national categories last year, up from just one national finalist in 2018 and again in 2019.

Zoom in: Lucia's David Uygur is a semifinalist in the national outstanding chef category and La Casita Bakeshop is a semifinalist in the outstanding bakery category.

  • Gemma is a semifinalist in the outstanding hospitality category. The restaurant was updated and its menu was refreshed late last year.

Meanwhile: Two of the five local semifinalists in the Texas best chef category were also named last year — Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman of José and Regino Rojas of Purépecha at Revolver Taco. The others are:

Of note: Junior Borges was an outstanding chef semifinalist last year for his work at Meridian at The Village, but he later left the restaurant.

What's next: Finalists will be announced on April 3, and winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on June 10 in Chicago.

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