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Austin Chefs Nab Three James Beard Awards Finalist Nominations

None of the female Austin chefs made it though

A dish from Barley Swine
A dish from Barley Swine
Barley Swine/Facebook
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

The James Beard Awards 2019 finalists are here and three Austin chefs made the cut, though, notably, it didn’t include any of the first-time female chefs.

Under the Best Chef: Southwest category, there’s Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine (his seventh finalist nomination), Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie (his second), and Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye (his first finalist nomination). There’s also San Antonio chef Steve McHugh of Cured with his fourth nomination.

Unfortunately, first-time semifinalist nominees Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo and Maribel Rivero of Yuyo did not make it to the finalist rounds. Mexican-inspired restaurant Suerte didn’t grab a finalist nod either for Best New Restaurant. Neither did Launderette pastry chef Laura Sawicki for Outstanding Pastry Chef (a five-time semifinalist) nor Jester King Brewery’s Jeffrey Stuffing’s for the Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer (two-time semifinalist).

Gilmore and Fojtasek made it to the finals last year, but both lost to Denver chef Alex Seidel.

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 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.

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.


1610 San Antonio Street, , TX 78701 (512) 474-2796 Visit Website

Barley Swine

6555 Burnet Road, , TX 78757 (512) 394-8150 Visit Website

Emmer & Rye

51 Rainey Street, , TX 78701 (512) 366-5530 Visit Website