Houstonians are well represented on the list of James Beard Award finalists for 2022. Four Houston chefs and businesses will compete in the national categories, and three of the city’s chefs are up for the first-ever Best Chef: Texas award.
Considered the Oscars of the food world, the awards honor chefs and other culinary professionals in a wide range of categories from Outstanding Chef to Best New Restaurant. The Beard Foundation created the Best Chef: Texas category in 2019 to recognize the state’s diverse talent.
The Houstonians vying for the national awards are:
- Exceptional hospitality: Hugo’s
- Outstanding Barre Program: Julep
- Excellent Pastry Chef: Rubén Ortega, Xochi
- Outstanding restorer: Chris Williams, Lucille Hotel Group
Two other Texans are up for national awards:
- Best New Restaurant: Roots Southern Table, Farmers Branch
- Emerging Chef: Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin
The finalists for Best Chef: Texas are:
- Tiffany Derry, Roots Southern Table, Farmers Branch
- Christine Ha and Tony Nguyen, Xin Chao, Houston
- Quy Hoang, Blood Bros BBQ, Bellaire
- Steve McHugh, recovered, San Antonio
- Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin
Overall, the nominees demonstrate the Beard Foundation’s commitment to recognizing a more diverse group of nominees and restaurant styles than in the past. For example, five Texas pitmasters earned semifinal nominations for Best Chef: Texas, with Hoang emerging as the consensus pick.
The Beard Foundation will announce its media award finalists on April 27. The winners will be awarded in Chicago on June 13.