The James Beard Awards’s semifinalist list for 2019 is out right now, and eight Austin names make appearances.
The Best Chef: Southwest category long list is interesting: for the first time, both longtime chef Iliana de la Vega of Oaxacan and Mexican restaurant El Naranjo and chef Maribel Rivero of Peruvian restaurant Yuyo nabbed semifinalist nominations.
Then there are returning long list chefs Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye and Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie (both for the second time), and Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine for his seventh time.
Over for Best New Restaurant, Mexican-inspired restaurant newcomer Suerte received its first James Beard Award semifinalist nomination. Launderette’s Laura Sawicki received her fifth semifinalist nomination under the Outstanding Pastry Chef category. Jester King Brewery’s Jeffrey Stuffings is nominated as an Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Producer for the second time as a semifinalist.
Gilmore has made it to the finalist selection six times, including last year, and Fojtasek did last year as well, but lost to Denver chef Alex Seidel.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards. Finalists will be announced on March 27, winners in the book/television/journalism categories will be announced at a dinner in New York on April 26, and the gala acknowledging winners will be held in Chicago on May 6.