The James Beard award for the Best Chef Southwest category has two big Austin names competing for the crown. Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie) and Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine) were both named finalists today for the prestigious culinary award. The other nominees for the category include Steve McHugh of Cured in San Antonio, Martín Rios, of Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and Alex Seidel of Mercantile in Denver. The Michael Hsu Office of Architecture was also named a finalist for best restaurant design for Otoko at the South Congress Hotel.
Gilmore was Austin’s only semifinalist last year, and the chef went on to earn his fifth consecutive finalist nod, but the city has done well in recent years. Aaron Franklin won the award in 2015, and former Austin winners include Paul Qui (2012) and Tyson Cole of Uchi (2011), Austin’s first-ever winner.
For the complete list of all nominees, go to jamesbeard.org.
The awards will be handed out on May 7 in Chicago, with the ceremony streaming live online.