Chef Rene Ortiz’s playful and nostalgic East Austin restaurant Launderette has been named a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in the country by the James Beard Foundation. The restaurant from Ortiz and his culinary partner Laura Sawicki opened in March of last year and quickly became a fixture on the east side. Sawicki was also named a semi-finalist for Outstanding Pastry chef.
Two men very familiar with the Beard Foundation once again garnered recognition from the culinary institute. Uchi founding executive chef Tyson Cole, Beard’s 2011 Best Chef Southwest, was named one of 20 semi-finalists in the country for Outstanding Chef, and Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine and Odd Duck earned his fourth consecutive semifinalist honor for Best Chef Southwest. Austin’s Aaron Franklin won top honor for the Southwest last year.
Grae Nonas of Olamaie also earned a semifinal nod for Rising Star Chef of the Year.
The finalists will be announced on March 15.