Jan 26, 2023 - Food and Drink

Houston's 10 James Beard Award semifinalists

Illustration of a first place ribbon with a gold plate at the center.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Several Houston chefs and restaurants got some major nods from the prestigious James Beard Foundation, which released its semifinalist list Wednesday.

Why it matters: The James Beard awards are considered the Oscars of the food world. Being on the list equates to having made exceptional culinary achievements.

The big picture: The recognition of our local chefs underscores that Houston is a food destination.

The intrigue: Chris Williams, the chef and owner of Lucille's, is nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur for the second year in a row.

  • Christine Ha and Tony Nguyen of Xin Chào are nominated for Outstanding Chef, after being nominated for Best Chef in Texas last year.

Other local semifinalists in national categories:

  • Victoria Elizondo of Cochinita & Co. for Emerging Chef
  • Tatemó for Best New Restaurant
  • Theodore Rex for Outstanding Hospitality
  • Nancy's Hustle for Outstanding Wine and Beverage Program

Plus: Several locals made the list for the best chefs in Texas:

  • Gatlin's BBQ chef Greg Gatlin
  • Street to Kitchen chef Benchawan Jabthong Painter
  • Nam Giao chef Ai Le
  • Kiran's chef Kiran Verma

Flashback: Last year, the only Houston establishment to win a James Beard Award was cocktail bar Julep for Outstanding Bar Program.

What's next: Finalists will be announced in March, and the winners will be revealed in a ceremony in Chicago on June 5.

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