james beard finalists 2022

7 Houston chefs, restaurants, and bars named James Beard Award finalists

7 Houston chefs, bars, restaurants named James Beard Award finalists

Julep interior
Julep is a James Beard Award finalist. Photo by Julie Soefer

Houstonians are well represented on the list of James Beard Award finalists for 2022. Four Houston chefs and businesses will compete in the national categories, and three of the city’s chefs are in the running to win the first ever Best Chef: Texas award.

Considered the Oscars of the food world, the awards recognize chefs and other culinary professionals in a wide range of categories ranging from Outstanding Chef to Best New Restaurant. The Beard Foundation created the Best Chef: Texas category in 2019 to recognize the state’s diverse collection of talent.

The Houstonians in the running for national awards are:

  • Outstanding Hospitality: Hugo’s
  • Outstanding Bar Program: Julep
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef: Ruben Ortega, Xochi
  • Outstanding Restaurateur: Chris Williams, Lucille’s Hospitality Group

Two other Texans are in the running for national awards:

  • Best New Restaurant: Roots Southern Table, Farmers Branch
  • Emerging Chef: Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin

The finalists for Best Chef: Texas are:

  • Tiffany Derry, Roots Southern Table, Farmers Branch
  • Christine Ha and Tony Nguyen, Xin Chao, Houston
  • Quy Hoang, Blood Bros. BBQ, Bellaire
  • Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio
  • Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin

Overall, the nominees demonstrate the Beard Foundation’s commitment to recognizing a more diverse group of nominees and styles of restaurant than it has in the past. For example, five Texas pitmasters earned semifinalist nominations for Best Chef: Texas, with Hoang emerging as the consensus choice.

The Beard Foundation will announce the finalists for its media award on April 27. Winners will be awarded in Chicago on June 13.