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The James Beard Awards Head to Houston For 2019 Nominee Announcement

The actual awards will still be held in Chicago

Hugo Ortega Hot Dish Gallery
Chef Hugo Ortega will host the 2019 James Beard Award nominees announcement
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Next month, the James Beard Foundation will head to Houston to announce the nominees for its coveted annual Awards, often described as the “Oscars of food.”

The Foundation will host a live press conference at James Beard Award winner Hugo Ortega’s namesake Montrose restaurant on March 27 to announce Award nominees across more than 50 awards categories, according to a press release. “We’re thrilled to showcase the city of Houston and bring our 2019 James Beard Awards nominees announcement to this diverse and vibrant culinary and dining scene,” James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach said in a statement.

Over the past several years, Houston has frequently dominated the list of nominees (and winners) from the Southwest region, including Ortega’s 2017 win in the Best Chef - Southwest category, Justin Yu’s in 2016, and Chris Shepherd’s in 2014. Houston’s dining scene is only getting stronger, which means that a number of those James Beard Award nominees announced next month will assuredly be locals.

“The City of Houston is honored to host the James Beard Foundation as it announces the 2019 James Beard Award nominees,” mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement. “The Foundation has come to the ideal place. With one in every four Houstonians being foreign born, Houston takes pride in the rich culinary scene that comes with being one of most diverse cities in the nation.”

The James Beard Foundation will announce its 2019 James Beard Award nominees from Hugo’s on March 27 starting at 9 a.m. For those who won’t have one of those coveted spots at Hugo’s, the press conference will be live-streamed via the James Beard Foundation website. Winners will be announced at the James Beard Awards ceremony in Chicago on May 6.