The James Beard Awards — one of America’s biggest culinary awards — announced the semifinalists for 2023. This year, there are six Austin nominees on the longlist of chefs and restaurants that will be narrowed down to the finalist list in two months.
Austin chefs in the Best Chef, Texas category are:
- Tavel Bristol-Joseph of Eater Austin Award-winning Caribbean restaurant Canje
- Damien Brockway of Eater Austin Award-winning barbecue truck Distant Relatives (his second semifinalist nomination in two years)
- Kareem El-Ghayesh of Egyptian-Texan barbecue pop-up-turned-food truck KG BBQ
Elsewhere, Austin chefs were nominated in three other categories:
- Austin baker Mariela Camacho of Eater Austin Award-winning bakery pop-up Comadre Panadería in the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category
- Downtown Mexican restaurant La Condesa in the Outstanding Restaurant category
- East Austin Mexican restaurant Suerte in the Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program
The rest of the Best Chef, Texas category includes Nicola Blaque of The Jerk Shack in San Antonio; Andrew Ho, Andrew Samia, and Sean Wen of Curry Boys BBQ in San Antonio; Enrique Lozano of El Charlatan in Socorro; Emiliano Marentes of ELEM in El Paso; Ana Liz Pulido of Ana Liz Taqueria in Mission; John Russ of Clementine in San Antonio; Ernest Servantes and David Kirkland of Burnt Bean Co. in Seguin; and Jon Walter of Chez Sami in Wolfforth; among also Dallas and Houston nominees.
Other San Antonio nominees include Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin of Best Quality Daughter was nominated under the Emerging Chef category; Anne Ng of mini-chain Bakery Lorraine (which also has an Austin location) within the Outstanding Pastry Chef/Bakery category; and brewery Weathered Souls Brewing Company in the Outstanding Bar category.
Other Texas spots include Abilene restaurant the Local in the Outstanding Hospitality category; Brownsville bar Las Ramblas in the Outstanding Bar group.
Last year, two Austin chefs received medals. Nixta Taqueria co-owner and chef Edgar Rico won the Emerging Chef category and El Naranjo co-owner and chef Iliana de la Vega won the first-ever Best Chef, Texas category. 2022 Austin semifinalists include Distant Relatives’s Damien Brockway in the Texas group, and Olamaie’s Amanda Turner in the Emerging Chef category.
The 2023 list will be revealed on Wednesday, March 29, and the awards take place on Monday, June 5.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.