The finalists for the James Beard Awards 2018 are here, and two Austin chefs made the cut. This includes Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie and Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine/Odd Duck for the Best Chef Southwest category.
This is Fojtasek’s first finalist nomination for a James Beard Award (Olamaie was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant of the Year in 2015, and his former co-chef Grae Nonas was a finalist for the Rising Star of the Year category in 2016). This is Gilmore’s sixth finalist nomination. Emmer & Rye’s Kevin Fink didn’t make the finalist cut.
Unfortunately, Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Laura Sawicki of Launderette, and Jester King Brewery’s Jeffrey Stuffings didn’t advance to the finalist list for their respective categories of Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Pastry Chef, and Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professionals.
Additionally, omakase spot Otoko is nominated for best restaurant design for spaces 75 seats and under. Working on that restaurant were Studio MAI, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, and FODA Studio.
Franklin Barbecue’s Aaron Franklin took home the Southwest medal in 2015 as the first pitmaster to win the award. Tyson Cole tied for Southwest medal with Las Vegas chef Saipin Chutima of Lotus of Siam in 2011.
The winners will be announced on Monday, May 7.