The James Beard Awards’ semifinalist list for 2018 is out now, and six Austin names make appearances.
Texas Japanese izakaya Kemuri Tatsu-ya nabbed its first James Beard Award nomination within its first year for Best New Restaurant. Under the Best Chef: Southwest category, there’s Emmer & Rye’s Kevin Fink, Olamaie’s Michael Fojtasek, and Barley Swine’s Bryce Gilmore for the sixth time. Launderette’s Laura Sawicki also received her fourth semifinalist nomination for Outstanding Pastry chef. For the first time, Jester King Brewery’s Jeffrey Stuffings is also nominated as one of the Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professionals.
Also of note: pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ is nominated for Southwest chef as well. For the same category from San Antonio, there’s Mixtli chefs Diego Galicia and Rico Torres as well as Steve McHugh of Cured.
Gilmore has been advanced to the finalist five times so far for the Southwest Chef category. He lost last year to Houston chef Hugo Ortega. Sawicki has been on the list three times before this, twice for the Holly restaurant and once for La Condesa.
In 2015, Aaron Franklin took home the Southwest medal as the first pitmaster to win the award. Other previous Austin winners include Tyson Cole in 2011 for the Southwest medal in a tie with Las Vegas chef Saipin Chutima of Lotus of Siam.
The finalists will be announced on Wednesday, March 14, with the winners on Monday, May 7.
- The 2018 James Beard Award Semifinalists [James Beard Foundation]