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Behold Houston's 2015 James Beard Award Semifinalists

Familiar names land on prestigious list, Hugo's gets multiple nods.

Will another Houstonian receive culinary's top honors?
Will another Houstonian receive culinary's top honors?
James Beard Foundation

In grand fashion, the James Beard Foundation published this year's lengthy list of semifinalists for restaurant and chef — a list which will be narrowed down even further when finalists are announced next month.

Houston is represented once again with nods in three major categories. Semifinalists for Best Chef Southwest include Justin Yu of Oxheart, Hugo Ortega of Hugo's and duo of The Pass, Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan. This Yu's second best chef nomination (also a 2013 Rising Star nominee) and Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan's first. 2015 marks the fourth year in a row Ortega has been nominated in the prestigious category for his eponymous Montrose restaurant, but the recognition doesn't end there. Ortega's Hugo's was also selected as a nominee for Outstanding Wine Program where Sean Beck serves as sommelier/beverage director.

Receiving recognition in the Outstanding Bar Program, is Bobby Heugel's Anvil Bar & Refuge. It's the third nomination for the craft cocktail bar. Last year was a big win for the Clumsy Butcher clan (Anvil, Blacksmith, Julep, The Pastry War, The Nightingale Room) when Chris Shepherd took home the Best Chef Southwest award for his diligent work at Underbelly. 

The list looks very
similar to last year's semifinalists, with the exception of former Uchi pastry chef Philip Speer (who resigned from his director of culinary operations position last month after his now infamous DWI arrest). Although there aren't any surprises, the biggest announcement  who will take home a James Beard Award is yet to come. Finalists will be revealed Tuesday, March 24 and winners will be announced in Chicago, May 4 at the James Beard Foundation Awards. Could this year be an even bigger year for Houston?

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