2023 James Beard semifinalists
10 Houston restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations
The James Beard Foundation has revealed the semifinalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Ten Houston restaurants have been included in both national categories and the coveted title of Best Chef: Texas.
Considered the Oscars of the food world, the awards recognize outstanding chefs and other culinary professionals in a wide range of categories ranging from Outstanding Chef to Best New Restaurant. The awards also include media categories that will be announced at a later date.
Houston restaurants and bars are well represented among both the national and regional awards. Overall, the city earned six national nominations and four nominations for Best Chef: Texas. Perhaps one of them will follow Julep, the Southern-inspired cocktail bar that claimed Houston's first national Beard Award in 2022.
- Outstanding Restaurateur: Chris Williams, Lucille's Hospitality Group
- Outstanding Chef: Christine Ha and Tony J. Nguyen, Xin Chào
- Emerging Chef: Victoria Elizondo, Cochinita & Co.
- Best New Restaurant: Tatemó
- Outstanding Hospitality: Theodore Rex
- Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program: Nancy’s Hustle
Best Chef: Texas nominees
- Greg Gatlin, Gatlin’s BBQ
- Benchawan Jabthong Painter, Street to Kitchen
- Ai Le, Nam Giao
- Kiran Verma, Kiran's
Elsewhere, Dallas boasts 10 nominees, San Antonio has seven, Austin has six, and Fort Worth has two.
As with last year, the nominees include a wide range of barbecue pitmasters. Houston’s Greg Gatlin is joined by the pitmasters at five other restaurants. Building on Austin chef Iliana de la Vega’s Best Chef: Texas win last year, chefs who serve Mexican cuisine received six semifinalist nominations.
Notably, only two of last year’s James Beard semifinalists made this year’s roster. Chris Williams returns as an Outstanding Restaurateur nominee; Christine Ha and Tony Nguyen graduated from Best Chef: Texas finalists in 2022 to Outstanding Chef this year.
Finalists will be announced on Wednesday, March 29. The Foundation will reveal its winners at an awards ceremony on Monday, June 5, 2023, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.