Eight Austin Restaurants Named James Beard Foundation 2019 Semifinalists

Nods for best new restaurant, pastry chef, beer producer, chef

The James Beard Foundation has announced its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 29th annual James Beard Awards. The national awards recognize premiere dining locations and chefs across ten different regions: best new restaurants, outstanding bar, outstanding baker, and rising star chefs 30 years of age or under.

Duck egg flan at Suerte (Photo by John Anderson)

The Foundation, active in the food community for more than 30 years, hosts an open call for entries in October, and those are whittled down by a volunteer group of more than 250 panelists and reviewed by a committee that produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 21 Restaurant and Chef Award categories. More than 600 judges across the country vote to determine the final nominees in each category, then votes again to select winners.

The 2019 James Beard Awards will be held in New York City on Friday, April 26; events in May in Chicago include the Leadership Awards dinner and The James Beard Awards Gala. From the press release: “The organization is committed to giving chefs and their colleagues a voice and the tools they need to make the world more sustainable, equitable, and delicious for everyone.”

For the full list of finalists, please visit the James Beard Foundation website.

Congratulations to the eight names representing Austin!

Best New Restaurant

“A restaurant opened in 2018 that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.”


Outstanding Pastry Chef

“A pastry chef or baker who demonstrates exceptional skill, integrity, and character in the preparation of desserts, pastries, or breads served in a restaurant. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.”

Laura Sawicki, Launderette

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer

“A beer, wine, or spirits producer who demonstrates consistency and exceptional skill in his or her craft.”

Jeffrey Stuffings, Jester King Brewery

Best Chef Southwest

“Chefs who set high culinary standards and also demonstrate integrity and admirable leadership skills in their respective regions. A nominee may be from any kind of dining establishment but must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region” – AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT

Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo

Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye

Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie

Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine

Maribel Rivero, Yuyo

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