In 2011, Tyson Cole became the first Austin chef to win a James Beard Award. He tied with Saipin Chutima of Las Vegas Lotus of Siam. Photo by WILL RAGOZZINO.

One of the major factors in Austin’s culinary rise has earned another honor. The James Beard Foundation has named Uchi executive chef Tyson Cole, who opened his exceptional sushi restaurant in 2003, one of the 20 semifinalists for Outstanding Chef in the country. Cole has been nominated four times for Best Chef Southwest, winning that award in 2011, but this is his first time to make the short list for the best chef in the country.

For the full list of semifinalists, click here. The finalists will be announced on March 15.

Related: Uchi in the Austin360 Dining Guide: #6 in 2015 | #3 in 2014 | #2 in 2013Related:Uchi group rebranding, bringing new concept to Austin next year