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Chefs Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie and Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine named James Beard Award finalists

Matthew Odam

The James Beard award for Best Chef Southwest category has two big Austin names competing for the crown. Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie) and Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine) were both named finalists today for the prestigious culinary award. The other nominees for the category include Steve McHugh of Cured in San Antonio and Alex Seidel of Mercantile in Denver. The Michael Hsu Office of Archtietcure was also named a finalist for best Austin restaurant design for Otoko at South Congress Hotel. The finalists are still being announced and include Launderette’s Laura Sawicki for Best Pastry Chef and Kemuri Tatsu-ya for Best New Restaurant.

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.

For the complete list of all nominees, go to

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) | Barley Swine (#7) | Kemuri Tatsu-Ya (#9) | Launderette (#18)