The James Beard award for Best Chef Southwest has quite a bit of Austin flavor this year. The prestigious culinary institution announced its semifinalists today and Austin took home four nominations, with chefs Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie), Kevin Fink (Emmer & Rye) and Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine) all earning nods for Best Chef Southwest and Laura Sawicki earning a semifinalist nod for Best Pastry Chef in America, her third such nomination. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, the izakaya-smokehouse from Takuya Matsumoto and Tatsu Aikawa was named a semifinalist for the honor of best new restaurant in America.
Gilmore was Austin’s only semifinalist last year, and the chef went on to earn his fifth consecutive finalist nod, but the city has done well in recent years. Aaron Franklin won the award in 2015, and former Austin winners include Paul Qui (2012) and Tyson Cole of Uchi (2011), Austin’s first-ever winner.
The finalists will be announced on March 14 and the awards will be handed out on May 7 in Chicago, with the ceremony streaming live online.
Austin360 Dining Guide’s Top 25:
Olamaie (#1) | Emmer & Rye (#5) | Barley Swine (#7) | Kemuri Tatsu-Ya (#9) | Launderette (#18)