When word hit this morning that Bryan Caswell was a 2010 James Beard Award finalist, everyone was buzzing. Everyone that is, except Caswell himself, who was out of range fishing in Matagorda Bay. We caught up with Caswell as he stepped back onto land.
Question one: Dude, how did you happen to be fishing when your nomination was announced?
"I knew it was today, but I didn't realize the announcement would be so early," Caswell tells CultureMap. "I thought it would be later, and I'd hear on Twitter or something. But when I pulled in and had about 900 messages, I knew that something had happened. I was definitely surprised. I wasn't expecting it, to be honest. A lot of people were like, 'Why would you go fishing, why wouldn't you want to be in the restaurant to hear?'
"But I honestly didn't think I would get it. Plus there's only so many good fishing days."
Caswell still seemed to be taking in news of the nomination in the Best Chef-Southwest category for his signature restaurant, Reef. "It's such a huge, monster thing," he says. "It's such an honor to represent Houston, which is what I really try to do, and try to bring it home for us. I don't think a Houston chef has ever won a James Beard. It's really an award from your peers, so I'm honored and humbled."
Caswell said he's looking forward to the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony, taking place at New York's Lincoln Center on May 2-3. "I'm definitely going to New York," Caswell says. "Hey, you never know, it might be my only chance."
Just in case you were wondering if all the plaudits were going to Caswell's head, don't worry. Caswell says he will probably try to do something to celebrate today, but for now he has other things on his mind.
"I've got to get these fish cleaned first," he says.