Two Austin chefs earned their first James Beard Awards’ semifinalist nod this morning.
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In all, five local chefs were honored by the James Beard Foundation today in the Best Chef: Southwest category. Returning semifinalists are Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye and Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie, both of whom have been nominated twice, and Barley Swine's Bryce Gilmore, who has been a semi-finalist more than half a dozen times.
The two new names on the list are Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo and Maribel Rivero of Yuyo, who have both been in the Austin restaurant scene for more than a decade.
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In the Outstanding Pastry Chef category, Launderette’s Laura Sawicki earned her fifth nomination, and in the Best New Restaurant category, Suerte was the only Austin eatery to make the semifinalist list.
In the Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Producer category, Jester King Brewery’s Jeffrey Stuffings earned his second nod as a semifinalist. The finalists in each of these categories will be announced in late March, and the awards will be handed out at a gala on May 6 in Chicago.
Texas received a total of 27 James Beard nominations today, the most ever.