The James Beard Awards’ semifinalist list for 2017 is out now, and only two Austin names make appearances. That would be Bryce Gilmore for Barley Swine and Laura Sawicki for Launderette. This is Gilmore’s fifth time on the semifinalist list under the Southwest category and Sawicki’s third for Outstanding Pastry Chef (second for Launderette — the first was for La Condesa in 2013).
In 2016, both Gilmore and Sawicki made it to the finalist round of the awards. Alas, Gilmore lost to Justin Yu of Oxheart in Houston and Dahlia Narvaez of Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles won the award for outstanding pastry chef as well. Other Austin finalists during last year’s awards included Grae Nonas, then of Olamaie, for the Raising Star of the Year category, and Launderette as a potential best new restaurant. Neither nabbed the medals, either.
Aaron Franklin became perhaps the first pitmaster to take home the award in 2015 within the Southwest category. Other Austin winners include Tyson Cole's tie for the Southwest award in 2011 and Paul Qui in 2012.
The final nominees will be announced on Wednesday, March 15, in Los Angeles, and the winners will be revealed on Monday, May 1 during a ceremony in Chicago.