Behold the nominations for the coveted 2016 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Semifinalist Awards have been announced, check the full list here. If you've been living under a rock, the James Beard Foundation is for the restaurant world what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts is for the movie world, and the James Beard Awards are like the Oscars for food. To give you a sense of the caliber of talent, recall that Chris Shepherd of Underbelly won Best Chef Southwest in 2014, and Tyson Cole of Uchi won in 2011. Many of our Houston's most creative and genius culinary minds are among the list of nominees including Monica Pope, Hugo Ortega, and Justin Yu. Without further delay, here are the outstanding Houston nods for the 2016 James Beard Awards.
Best New Restaurant
Helen Greek Food & Wine
Outstanding Bar Program
Anvil Bar & Refuge
Tracy Vaught, Houston (Hugo's, Caracol, Backstreet Café)
Best Chef: Southwest
Manabu Horiuchi, Kata Robata
Hugo Ortega, Caracol
Seth Siegel-Gardner & Terrence Gallivan, The Pass
Justin Yu, Oxheart
Congrats to everyone who made the cut and fingers crossed.